Chris Tierney

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.

Everything you need to know about Sharks center Chris Tierney filing for arbitration

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Everything you need to know about Sharks center Chris Tierney filing for arbitration

Sharks center Chris Tierney, a restricted free agent, filed for salary arbitration on Thursday, the NHLPA announced. San Jose can continue to negotiate a contract with a 24-year-old prior to an arbitration hearing, which would take place at some point between July 20 and August 4. 

An arbitration award would be issued no later than August 6, or 48 hours after the hearing. Such a contract can last no longer than two years, and the Sharks would decide the length of the deal, since San Jose did not opt for arbitration. 

The Sharks issued Tierney a qualifying offer worth $771,500 on June 25, meaning San Jose retained his exclusive negotiating rights and would have been allowed to match any offer sheet. Since Tierney filed for arbitration, he is no longer eligible to be signed to an offer sheet, and his qualifying offer will expire on July 15 at 2 p.m. PT.  

Last summer, Tierney signed his qualifying offer, a one-year deal worth $735,000. He responded with a career-high 40 points (17 goals and 23 assists), 29 of which came at even strength, tying for fifth and seventh on the team, respectively. He also played in all 82 games, and logged a career-high 16:00 per game.

Should Tierney and the Sharks make it to arbitration, he would become the first San Jose player to actually have a hearing. Previously, three Sharks filed for arbitration: Center Marcel Goc in 2008, winger T.J. Galiardi in 2012, and defenseman Jason Demers in 2014. San Jose settled with each player prior to a hearing.

Sharks issue qualifying offers to Hertl and Tierney, but not DeMelo

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Sharks issue qualifying offers to Hertl and Tierney, but not DeMelo

The Sharks issued qualifying offers to pending restricted free-agent forwards Tomas Hertl and Chris Tierney, the team announced on Monday. San Jose did not, however, issue a qualifying offer to defenseman Dylan DeMelo, who now becomes an unrestricted free agent. 

The former moves don't come as a surprise, but the latter is, at least somewhat. After two seasons in and out of the lineup, the 25-year-old DeMelo established himself as a regular on San Jose's blueline from November onward this past season. He scored 20 points (all assists), playing in 60 of the Sharks' final 63 regular season games, as well as each of the team's 10 playoff games. 

DeMelo was due a qualifying offer worth $735,000, or 105 percent of his base salary from last season. Not issuing DeMelo a qualifying offer means he can re-sign with the Sharks for less than that, but he will also have the opportunity to sign elsewhere without San Jose receiving compensation. 

Should DeMelo not come back, the Sharks would likely turn to an internal option as his replacement. Tim Heed, a fellow right-handed blueliner who scored 11 points in 29 NHL games last year, is signed through next season for $650,000 per CapFriendly, while lefties Nick DeSimone (20 AHL points last season) and Radim Simek (27 points) are signed through next year at $925,000 and $675,000 at the NHL level, respectively. San Jose drafted right-handed defenseman Ryan Merkley in the first round of Friday's draft, but the 17-year-old told reporters he thinks he's at least a year away from the NHL. 

If it's indeed Heed who takes DeMelo's spot, the Sharks would save nearly $100,000 against the salary cap. In the meantime, San Jose can continue negotiating with Tierney and Hertl, both of whom are eligible for salary arbitration.