SHARKS RIGHT WING #16 DEVIN SETOGUCHI - PHOTO JON SWENSON
The San Jose Sharks announced this morning that restricted free agent Devin Setoguchi signed a 1-year contract extension with the back-to-back Western Conference champions. The 23-year old right wing registered 20 goals, 8 of them on the power play, and 16 assists in 70 games played last season. “He is an important part of our team and we are looking forward to his on-going growth as a player. We have very high expectations for him,” San Jose Sharks EVP/GM Doug Wilson told SJsharks.com.
Terms of his contract extension were not released as per team policy, but according to Globe and Mail reporter James Mirtle the contract is for 1 year at $1.8 million. According to capgeek.com, that would leave the Sharks with around $3.7M in salary cap space for the 2010-11 NHL season with 11 forwards (including rookie Cam MacIntyre), 7 defenseman (including Jay Leach), and 2 goaltenders under contract (Niittymaki, Greiss).
Setoguchi’s contract negotiations took longer than expected. The Alberta native declined salary arbitration and could be in for a much larger contract down the line, but the one year contract is evidence the Sharks want him to realize more of his potential and play a more disciplined game. Setoguchi missed 12 games in October and November with a leg injury, but he used his speed and agressive play effectively down the stretch. In the postseason, he scored 5 goals and 4 assists, and registered the OT game winner to cap a spectacular come-from-behind win over Colorado in Game 2 of the WCQF. He underwent surgery for a sports hernia injury this offseason. Setoguchi may have more unfulfilled offensive upside than any other forward in the Sharks organization, but GM Doug Wilson may want him to put together more of a complete game before locking him up to a long term deal.
The contract allows flexibility in the short term for GM Doug Wilson, who made an offer sheet to defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, and was rumored to be in on talks with defenseman Dan Hamhuis and goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Earlier this summer Wilson said that the best opportunity to bolster the Sharks lineup may come via the trade market, an option which would allow him to offset salary. “We’ve got lots of (cap) room, lots of assets and all our picks,” Doug Wilson told Edward Fraser of TheHockeyNews.com. “There’s probably a long way to go before this team is ultimately built… There’s a lot that can happen between now and the trade deadline, but we’re positioned just like we were when we added Thornton, Boyle or Heatley, if the right player with the right type of contract comes along.”
Mention of the trade deadline in the middle of summer is a signal that Doug Wilson is prepared to be patient in pursuit of a player that can upgrade his lineup. He has stated that his staff is prepared to make a move on short notice if an opportunity arises. The Sharks have created a ghost roster of every NHL player, and predicted possible needs for 29 other teams. Taking two expiring contracts off the hands of Atlanta for a late round 2010 draft pick, or trading for an already retired Vladimir Malakhov to free up cap space for New Jersey, are two examples of how that has been put in to practice in the past.
On Friday the Sharks announced that rookie defenseman Jason Demers signed a 2-year, $2.5M contract extention. Demers will reportedly finish out his entry level contract in 2010-11, then make $1.1M in 2011-12, and $1.4M in 2012-13 on his extension. With the signing, the Sharks have locked up the bulk of the defensive corps for at least the next three seasons. 34-year old Dan Boyle is signed through 2013-14, 23-year old Marc-Edouard Vlasic is signed through 2012-13, 30-year old Douglas Murray is signed through 2012-13, and 22-year old Jason Demers is also signed through 2012-13.
“Jason’s puck-moving capabilities and competitive nature fit well with where our team is trending,” Sharks EVP/GM Doug Wilson said of Jason Demers. “He is very capable of executing the up-tempo style of game we want to play and we see him as an important part of our team.”
The retirement of captain Rob Blake will leave holes on and off the ice that need to be filled, but Demers showed a lot of promise en route to finishing fourth among rookie defenseman in scoring (4G, 17A, 21pts, 51GP), and fourth among the Worcester Sharks in defensive scoring despite playing only 27 games in the AHL (4G, 13A, 17pts). Demers was effective as a power play quarterback on the second unit, but defensively he was raw and used sparingly in certain 5-on-5 situations. The Sharks rushed the return of veteran defenseman Niclas Wallin from injury in the playoffs, and dressed 7 defenseman and only 11 forwards to stabilize play in front of the net against Detroit and Chicago.
Fans in the stands at HP Pavilion are experienced in the foibles of a developing offensive defenseman, having watched Sandis Ozolinsh, Andrei Zyuzin, Brad Stuart, Jeff Jillson, Christian Ehrhoff and Matt Carle come up through the ranks. A full 82-game season for Demers, tests in all game situations, could prepare him for a much larger postseason role in the future.
Other Shark Notes:
The Worcester Sharks announced the signings of defenseman Mike Moore (2 years) and “Crazed Rats” forward Dan DaSilva (1 year) this week. Moore registered 3 goals and 22 points in 64 games played with the Worcester Sharks last season, DaSilva (72GP) tied Logan Couture (42GP) to finish third on team in scoring with 53 points. Defenseman Derek Joslin remains the lone restricted free agent left to be addressed by GM Doug Wilson. A press release from the (ECHL) Stockton Thunder noted that a press conference has been scheduled for 11AM Monday in Stockton. Stockton president Dan Chapman, Stockton head coach Matt Thomas and assistant coach Matt O’Dette, Edmonton Oilers assistant GM Rick Olczyk, Sharks EVP/GM Doug Wilson and play-by-play host Dan Rusanowsky will all be in attendance. The Edmonton Oilers have been Stockton’s NHL affiliate for 4 of the team’s 5 seasons.
Four free agent moves of note -- the Calgary Flames and offensive defenseman Ian White avoided arbitration and came to terms on a 1-year, $2,999,995 contract. Denis Grebeshkov opted to forgoe smaller contract offers in the NHL and will join Evgeni Nabokov with SKA St. Petersburgh of the KHL. White and Grebeshkov were two defenseman that would have fit well in the Sharks up-tempo offense. Chicago Stanley Cup winning goaltender Antti Niemi was awarded $2.75 million via arbitration. Tight against the salary cap, it is not known if the Blackhawks will keep him or make a lesser offer for Marty Turco or Jose Theodore among other options. Washington D.C. based Richard Bloch has been named as the arbitor for the NHL and the representatives for forward Ilya Kovalchuk. A monster 17-year, $102 million contract New Jersey gave to Kovalchuk was voided by the NHL for allegedly "circumventing" the salary cap. The NHLPA filed a grievance on Monday, but there is no timetable established as of yet for a ruling. Yahoo.com's Greg Wyshynski reported that the Sharks never made a contract offer to the UFA Ilya Kovalchuk this summer. This blog can confirm there was interest on the Kovalchuk side. A quirk in the Sharks 2010-11 NHL regular season schedule, after opening with a pair of games in Stockholm Sweden, San Jose will finish with 8 straight games against Pacific Division rivals, 4 on the road (LA, PHO, ANA, PHO), and 4 at home including the finale against Phoenix (DAL, ANA, LA, PHO). Any tight division race will be magnified in the stretch run with this schedule.
One final 2010 NHL Entry Draft note from Sharkspage and Red Line Report scout Max Giese: Several scouts believe the Sharks went off the board when they took Minnesota High School forward Max Gaede in third round 88th overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. At 6-foot-2, 187-pounds, Gaede is a big but developing forward, versatile with enough ability to play on a skill line or to grind it out to win puck battles in front of the net and in the corner. Gaede is set to play for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL this fall, then he will then attend Mankato State in 2011. “He impressed scouts with his versatility in the elite league last fall, but fell on some lists with some one-dimensional performances on a Woodburry team where he didn’t have much of a supporting cast,” said Musketeers Assistant Coach Cam Ellsworth. “The allure is that he’s only going to get bigger, has a strong stride, and a good shot. He loves being around the rink and he’s the type of kid who is going to put in the work”. The man behind the pick is San Jose Sharks scout Pat Funk, who has previously struck gold by going off the board to draft Joe Pavelski and goaltender Alex Stalock. One quality that Max Gaede shares in common with Pavelski and Stalock? All three are defined with strong leadership characteristics, a solid work-ethic, and are self described rink rats.
[Update] One-year, $1.8 million contract for Setoguchi follows similar path taken by Clowe and Pavelski – David Pollak’s Working the Corners blog.
Last season, Setoguchi earned $1.247 million in the final year of his entry level contract. Under GM Doug Wilson’s payroll structure, there’s a middle step players need to take before cashing in bigtime. Clowe, 27, took it with a one-year, $1.6 million deal for 2008-09; Pavelski, 26, was coming off a two-year middle step that carried a $1.637 million cap hit.
In other words, Setoguchi’s $1.8 million deal is pretty consistent with the path taken by both Clowe — who will be in the second season of a four-year, $14.5 million deal — and Pavelski, who signed a four-year, $16 million deal in June.