Tomas Hertl's future with the Sharks beyond the 2021-22 NHL season has yet to be solidified, but that doesn't mean the forward's relationship with the organization is on thin ice.
"I’ve had several conversations with his agent. And when you have conversations with agents, they’re always kept in confidence," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Thursday of Hertl (h/t Sheng Peng). "The rhythm of the negotiation, the time and place of it. Tomas knows how we feel about him."
"After the end of the season, when I talked with (Sharks general manager Doug Wilson) Doug, he likes my game, he wants me to stay here longer," Hertl told reporters Friday (h/t Sheng Peng). "Even my agent said he wants me to stay. So I feel like he likes me and he wants me to stay here.
"But we’ll see, end of the day for him, it’s business. He has to make the best decision for his team."
Wilson did say there were some special circumstances when it comes to Hertl's negotiations.
"I love Tomas Hertl. But it has to be one of those things that works for everybody. We're dealing with some unique dynamics," Wilson said.
Some comments to a Czech news outlet caused concern among Sharks fans, as Hertl expressed unease about whether he would be re-signing with the franchise.
“I wonder if San Jose will want to re-sign me, and if I’ll want to stay there,” Hertl told iDNES.cz (h/t Kevin Kurz/The Athletic). “I don’t want to think about it so it doesn’t negatively affect me. I’ll start the season and see how it turns out.”
Hertl has been with the organization since being drafted in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft. Over 503 career games in San Jose, Hertl has 323 points (151 goals, 172 assists).
Sharks captain Logan Couture, who has played alongside Hertl for the past eight years, emphasized how much he appreciates his teammate, regardless of what happens after this season.
“I love Tommy. He’s one of my best friends that I’ve met in this game. I want what’s best for him,” Couture said Thursday. “He loves San Jose. He tells me that all the time, he would love to be here for his entire career. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but we would love to have him. Unfortunately, in this game, there’s the business side of sports and you can’t get everything you want all the time.
“I know he’s not going to let it affect him. He’s a world-class player. He’s going to go out and he’s gonna have a very good year for us.”
The Sharks do have money tied up in a number of lengthy contracts with veterans, and have struggled to compete over the past few seasons as they've slipped near the bottom of the Western Conference.
Hertl likely would draw significant interest in the open market as a free agent or if he were made available via trade, but the Sharks also likely would want the 27-year-old to be part of the organization's reset.
Sharks fans everywhere have to be hopeful that an agreement can be reached between the two sides, as there clearly is mutual interest.
The timeline on when that agreement could come together remains to be seen, but as training camp opens this week, things could progress sooner rather than later.