Sharks name Joe Pavelski team captain


Sharks name Joe Pavelski team captain

SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski has been named the ninth full-time captain in Sharks franchise history, head coach Pete DeBoer announced on Monday.

Joe Thornton and Logan Couture are the alternates.

The move is somewhat expected in that Pavelski was far and away the most logical choice to assume the captaincy ever since the club stripped Joe Thornton of the ‘C’ last August.

Throughout the tumultuous 2014-15 season, Pavelski took over duties as the primary team spokesman after the Sharks altered their leadership structure. Although he was never officially named captain, the internal feeling within the organization was that Pavelski was next in line.

Still, DeBeor, who replaced Todd McLellan in May, offered little insight as to whom he would ultimately choose after letting it be known to in June that a captain would be in place by opening night. The new coach was critical of the team’s leadership structure last season when the Sharks had four alternates but no captain, calling it a “distraction.”

Pavelski, Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic acted as alternates last season, with three of them wearing an ‘A’ on a rotating basis.

The Sharks are in a truly unique situation in that Pavelski assumes the captaincy with two former captains of the club still in the dressing room. Thornton was captain from 2010-14, while Marleau served from 2003-09 before Rob Blake replaced him for one season.

Pavelski, 31, led the Sharks in points (70) and goals (37) last season, including 19 on the power play. He is third in franchise scoring with 485 points, and is second in Sharks history with 228 goals.

Over the last five seasons, only three NHL players have more goals than the Plover, Wisconsin native’s 161: Alex Ovechkin (206), Steven Stamkos (202) and Corey Perry (178).

Pavelski is signed for the next four seasons with a salary cap hit of $6 million. The Sharks originally drafted him in the 7th round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (205 overall).

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.

Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double


Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones won't just enter the season with a different paycheck, the result of entering the first year of a five-year, $34.5 million contract extension that he signed last July. He'll also have a new mask.

Toronto-based artist Steve Nash unveiled a look at Jones' mask design for the upcoming season Monday morning on Twitter. The design again features San Jose's secondary logo but with some subtle differences.

Eagle-eyed mask afficionados will notice a couple of tweaks. First, there now are two sharks on the side, compared to only one last season. Those sharks boast orange eyes seen on the back of his mask last season

For comparison, here's a look at Jones' mask from last year.

The 28-year-old netminder is entering his fourth season in San Jose's crease. Jones posted a .915 save percentage in 60 regular-season starts and followed that with a .928 in 10 postseason starts as the Sharks advanced to the second round. 

We'll get our best look at Jones' new mask in action when training camp opens in mid-September, and, assuming he plays, in a game as soon as the Sept. 18 preseason opener against the Ducks.