Sharks

Tierney's one-year deal will do nothing to quell trade talk

Tierney's one-year deal will do nothing to quell trade talk

Sharks center and restricted free agent Chris Tierney has signed a one-year contract extension with the club.

The deal, originally reported by TVA's Renaud Lavoie and confirmed by NBC Sports California, is worth $735,000 which was Tierney’s qualifying offer. The 23-year-old center did not have arbitration rights, so his bargaining power was limited.

On its face the deal seems like a good one for the Sharks, who locked up their fourth line center that posted 23 points (11g, 12a) in 80 games last season to a cheap salary. In three seasons, all with San Jose, Tierney has 64 points (24g, 40a) in 202 games. He’s added five goals and five assists for 10 points in 30 playoff games.

Still, it's notable that the Sharks - according to a source - did not offer Tierney anything other than a one-year deal for his qualifying offer. In comparable deals in Dallas, Brett Ritchie, who has 34 points (22g, 12a) in 117 games over three seasons, recently signed a two-year, $3.5 million extension (although Ritchie did have arbitration rights). Radek Faksa, who did not have arbitration rights and has 45 points (12g, 21a) in 125 career games, signed a three-year, $6.6 million contract on Monday.

The Sharks somewhat unexpectedly re-signed center Ryan Carpenter earlier in the offseason, leading some to question Tierney’s future in San Jose. A one-year deal at essentially the smallest salary possible will do nothing to quell the trade talk that has encircled Tierney ever since Carpenter inked a two-year, $1.3 million contract on June 17.

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer indicated after the season that he was hopeful certain players, including Tierney, would “step up” and do more in 2017-18.

“I think we’ve got a large group of guys that I like, but need to step up. Is [Marcus] Sorensen [like Joonas] Donskoi next year where he takes a step back, or a step forward? We’ve got a lot of guys that there’s a lot of potential there – Chris Tierney. There’s a lot of those guys, but they need to have big summers and take a step and show that they’re not just one season or one month players.”

The Sharks have two other restricted free agents in Sorensen and Barclay Goodrow. The deadline for players to accept their qualifying offers is July 15.

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

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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

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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.