Rourke Chartier

Sharks issue qualifying offers to Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and five others


Sharks issue qualifying offers to Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and five others

The Sharks took their first step towards re-signing restricted free agents Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc.

San Jose issued qualifying offers to Meier, Labanc, Dylan Gambrell, Antti Suomela and three others on Tuesday. That means the Sharks retain their rights as restricted free agents, and would be entitled to compensation if any of the seven players signed an offer sheet with another team. 

Now comes the hard part. The Sharks, who have just over $14.8 million in salary-cap space according to Cap Friendly, risk losing forwards Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi and Gustav Nyquist as unrestricted free agents. Retaining all three and re-signing Meier, Labanc and Gambrell will be difficult if not impossible, even if the restricted trio sign bridge contracts. 

Meanwhile, the Sharks didn't issue qualifying offers to seven other restricted free agents. Defenseman Joakim Ryan and forward Rourke Chartier headline the group, all of whom can become unrestricted free agents. Tuesday marked the deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers to RFAs, which would ensure they would receive compensation in the unlikely event of an offer sheet. Now, the Sharks won't receive any compensation should Chartier or Ryan sign elsewhere. 

Ryan, 26, played in 44 regular-season games last year as rookie blueliner Radim Simek seized a spot among the Sharks' top six defensemen. While Ryan didn't play between Jan. 23 and March 13, Simek's season-ending knee injury allowed Ryan to draw back into the lineup from mid-March onward. He suited up for every Stanley Cup playoff game, but played the fewest minutes per game of any of the team's defensemen (8:41) during the postseason. 

With fellow left-handed defensemen Mario Ferraro (2017 second-round pick), Jacob Middleton (made his NHL debut last year) and Tony Sund (35 points in 60 games in Finland last year) still on their entry-level contracts for next season, it's conceivable Ryan has played his last game in teal.

[RELATED: Can cap-strapped Sharks afford to keep Donskoi?]

Chartier, 23, made the team out of training camp and scored his first NHL goal on Oct. 28. He returned to the AHL's San Jose Barracuda for good on Jan. 13, but did not suit up after Feb. 22. Sommer told reporters shortly after that Chartier had "upper-body issues," and the forward was concussed twice in the previous season. 

It's possible that Ryan and/or Chartier re-signs. A year ago Tuesday, the Sharks did not issue a qualifying offer to defenseman Dylan DeMelo. San Jose re-signed DeMelo on July 7, before including him in the package to acquire defenseman Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators. 

Sharks rookies continue developing at AHL level with Barracuda

Sharks rookies continue developing at AHL level with Barracuda

SAN JOSE – There have been a few shuffles of the deck as players in the Sharks’ organization have bounced between the Barracuda and NHL club.

Rourke Chartier, Dylan Gambrell, Antti Suomela, and Jacob Middleton may all currently be skating for the AHL squad, but they’ve spent time in the Joe Pavelski-led lineup as well.

NBC Sports California attended Barracuda practice on Thursday as the team reconvened for their first skate after the AHL All-Star break. Here’s a quick check-in on how those four players’ seasons are shaping up.

--Rourke Chartier spent the first part of the 2018-19 season playing fourth-line center for Team Teal. He’s since bounced between the two clubs, registering 13 points (four goals, nine assists) with the Barracuda.

“Going up and down, I think it has been a good experience,” Chartier said on Thursday. “I’ve had a lot of fun just playing hockey. Hopefully, I can catch some more rhythm in the second half, whichever team I’m on.”

The 22-year-old center said the rhythm he’s had so far can be contributed to having the opportunity to consistently play games. Even if he’s a healthy scratch for the Sharks one night, he can follow that up playing a couple games for the Barracuda and staying fresh.

“At the end of the day you want to be playing games and getting better here,” Chartier said. “So when I do get another opportunity (at the NHL level) it’s going to be a lot easier having played some games.”

--The last time NBC Sports California caught up with Dylan Gambrell, he was reflecting on the things he wanted to improve in his personal game at the NHL level. At the AHL level, though, the 22-year-old rookie has been one of the Barracuda’s top players.

“I think my development is going well,” said Gambrell, who is tied for third on the team with 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) through 29 games. “Both teams are doing well too, so that’s been good.”

The University of Denver product brings a lot of speed to the Barracuda squad, which is considered one of the fastest teams in the league. Gambrell said the quickness of the AHL team has helped to prepare him for when he gets called up to the big club.

“It just makes it an easier transition,” he summarized. “There’s not as big of a jump, or at least you don’t notice it as much when you get called up.”

[RELATED: How Burns, Karlsson have impressed NHL All-Star goalies]

--Antti Suomela may only have seven points (two goals, five assists) in 17 games for the Barracuda. But head coach Roy Sommer said the Finnish rookie is bound to break out.

“With him, the work ethic is there, and he has a big compete to his game,” the coach complimented. “I think he just has to figure out the North American game. Things happen a lot quicker here than where he was at. But he’s picking it up.”

--Sharks fans are probably most familiar with defenseman Jacob Middleton because of his abrupt call-up to the big club earlier this month. A move made possible by the close proximity between the NHL and AHL teams.

“I think everyone -- all the teams that have come from out east, it’s a lot less wear-and-tear on your players,” said Sommer, whose players only have to jump across the practice facility when recalled. (Instead of having to make the long coast-to-coast flight the players took when the team was still located in Worcester, Mass.)

Sommer also echoed what Chartier said about getting players into games as opposed to them sitting around and getting rusty.

“Instead of guys just sitting for long periods of time, they get an opportunity to get in games and get their rhythm.”

Sharks recall rookie center Rourke Chartier after extended AHL stint


Sharks recall rookie center Rourke Chartier after extended AHL stint

SAN JOSE – There was more shuffling between the Sharks and their AHL affiliate on Wednesday, as the big club recalled rookie center Rourke Chartier from the Barracuda.

The 22-year-old center played 13 games for the Sharks, scoring one goal through that span before being reassigned to the Barracuda on Nov. 17. At the time, Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said the reassignment was to help build up Chartier’s confidence – especially because the fourth line, where he’d been playing, was struggling mightily at the time.

“When you’re a young guy and you’re in that situation,” DeBoer said after practice that day, “sometimes it’s better to get into an environment where, instead of it snowballing on you, you can nip it in the bud and get back to playing some big minutes and get your confidence back.”

Clearly, the move paid off. Chartier has since registered eight points (two goals, six assists) in eight AHL games.

How the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native will fill into the lineup still remains to be seen. San Jose continues its search for the perfect combination on its fourth line, where Chartier played center at the start of the season. That position has recently been occupied by Lukas Radil, who tallied a goal and an assist in his last two NHL games while playing with Barclay Goodrow and Melker Karlsson.

Chartier’s playing role could also be dependent on Joe Thornton’s health. The 39-year-old center took a maintenance day on Wednesday, making it twice this week he’s been absent from morning skate. Should the future Hall-of-Famer have to miss Thursday night’s game against the Stars, the Sharks’ forward lines may get rearranged as they look to close out their season series against Dallas with a win.