Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal


Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal

Just two days before one was scheduled, the Sharks avoided an arbitration hearing with center Chris Tierney, and re-signed the restricted free agent to a two-year deal on Wednesday, the team announced. The deal is reportedly worth just shy of $2.94 million annually, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman

"Chris had his best season as a professional last year and stepped up his level of play in multiple areas," San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We've always known he was a responsible, defensive-minded player, but he took his offensive game to the next tier and showed that he can be a productive player in all three zones. We look forward to watching him continue his evolution in 2018-19." 

Last season, the 24-year-old Tierney set career-highs in goals (17), assists (23), points (40), shots on goal (118), and ice time (16:00). Tierney also generated expected goals at the highest rate of his career (0.62 per hour), according to Corsica Hockey. 

A 2012 second-round pick, Tierney entered last season in an uncertain place. He signed his one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer last summer, and head coach Peter DeBoer challenged him to improve. 

“I came into the year wanting to prove a point. I believe in myself. I think I’m a good hockey player,” Tierney told the San Jose Mercury News in December. “I wanted to come in and show people that I could play an offensive role on the team.”  

DeBoer used Tierney slightly differently this season, as the forward started a career-high percentage of five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone (31.12 percent) and a career-low percentage of defensive zone starts (29.68 percent), per Corsica Hockey. Tierney responded in kind with his aforementioned career-best offensive numbers, and seized the third-line center role after versatile forward Tomas Hertl stayed on the wing.  

With Tierney back in the fold, the Sharks now have just under $4.4 million in salary cap space, according to CapFriendly. That’s for a roster carrying 14 forwards, seven defenseman, and two goaltenders, and San Jose’s actual cap space may change depending on the outcome of various positional battles in training camp. 

This summer, Tierney became the fourth Sharks player since 2008 to file for arbitration. In every case, including with Tierney on Wednesday, a settlement was reached prior to a hearing. 

The Sharks also signed a pair of prospects to entry-level contracts on Wednesday. Defenseman Ryan Merkley, San Jose’s first-round pick this June, and 21-year-old forward Alexander True, who scored 28 points in 68 games with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda last season, both inked deals with the organization.

How Sharks’ win over Blues brings them 'back in the right place'

How Sharks’ win over Blues brings them 'back in the right place'

SAN JOSE -- Between being shut out by the Blues eight days ago and dropping a 5-3 decision to the Maple Leafs on Thursday, the Sharks desperately needed a bounce-back performance Saturday night.

They did just that, shutting out the Blues 4-0.

“To have this game tonight was important for us, and it shows character in this room,” Erik Karlsson said. “I think for 60 minutes we played a well-played game.”

It was a game that featured many of the things the Sharks are typically known for — a strong defensive front in front of a strong goalie outing, with a little offensive firepower to lead the way.

“Tonight was kind of classic Sharks hockey,” Joe Pavelski said. “That was what we were striving for.”

[RELATED: Joe Pavelski named Third Star]

The biggest improvement Saturday night over San Jose’s previous few games was that the team tightened things up and had better control over the puck. The odd-man rushes that have plagued the Sharks and cost them leads in games were not an issue as they kept St. Louis from finding the back of the net. 

“We didn’t give them a lot off the rush tonight, which was one of the things we were trying to do,” Pavelski noted, adding that San Jose generated its offense by “being smart” this time around.

When the Blues looked as though they might get back into the game and make things interesting, netminder Aaron Dell stood tall to make the big saves.

“I thought our attention to detail was much better,” coach Peter DeBoer explained. “We were playing a little Russian roulette lately and losing. So, (the players) got the attention to detail of our game, which we’ve taken pride in here over the years, back in the right place.” 

Maintaining that attention to detail could end up being just what the Sharks need to really create some space between themselves and their Pacific Division opponents.

Team Teal finishes its six-game homestand this week against the Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks. Both teams had been riding hot streaks and had more points on the young season than San Jose. But now, both have taken a tumble — heck, as of Saturday, Vancouver had lost five in a row. So, if the Sharks can continue playing in the detail-oriented manner they did Saturday, they could build some serious momentum headed into the end of the calendar year.

“Tonight was a good bounce-back game for us,” Pavelski said. “The big challenge for us now is to continue with that.”

Sharks captain Joe Pavelski named NHL's Third Star of the week

Sharks captain Joe Pavelski named NHL's Third Star of the week

The Sharks in are first place in the Pacific Division and their captain was rewarded for his efforts in helping them get there last week.

Center Joe Pavelski was named the NHL's Third Star of the week on Monday morning.

In three games last week against the Predators, Maple Leafs and Blues, Pavelski registered five goals and one assist. Against Nashville and St. Louis, Pavelski netted two goals in each game, both Sharks wins.

So far this season, Pavelski has 13 goals and three assists in 21 games. On Oct. 14, Pavelski became the third player in Sharks history to reach 700 career points.

This is the fourth time in his career that Pavelski has been named as one of the Three Stars of the Week by the NHL. He previously achieved the honor on March 21, 2011 (First Star), March 24, 2014 (Third Star) and March 13, 2017 (First Star).

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson was named First Star and Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford was named Second Star.