The San Jose Sharks continue to reveal a little more about the direction of the 2013-14 season. They announced the re-signing of a player in the blue line rotation and a prospect to restricted free agent (RFA) contracts Thursday, June 27.
Team policy is not to announce contract details beyond their length—both Brodie Reid and Jason Demers were signed for one year, and will be restricted free agents again next season. Cap Geek is reporting the deal for one of their top prospects pays the forward $650,000 per year in the NHL but just $70,000 in the minors. Veteran Jason Demers signed for one year and $1.5 million.
This gives the Sharks the minimum of seven defensemen. Those players will more or less comprise the unit, perhaps with an additional piece added.
Of course, there is also still the possibility that Brent Burns will be moved back to the blue line. San Jose could decide that an aging Dan Boyle should be moved while he still has good value.
That is why the direction of the team seems to be better known, only three players had their future with the Sharks determined Thursday. Examining only that list (one on the core is coming) enables a thorough review of what each move means for the team and player.
Brodie Reid is a 23-year old forward that stands over six feet tall and is just under 200 lbs. That enables him to play anywhere on the ice, and his work ethic has helped him become one of the team’s best prospects despite being undrafted.
Re-signing him to a one year, two-way deal just ensures the San Jose Sharks have him on the off chance he makes a leap to the NHL. They will hold all the cards in renegotiation next season, keeping them protected should he continue to develop in the minors. More importantly, it gives them the freedom and flexibility to move in a different direction should he hit a ceiling.
Over the two seasons in their system, Reid has shown a knack for scoring San Jose could have used. He has 20 goals and 26 assists in 100 games in Worcester, but will need to show more of that and continue to work on his skating to break into the NHL.
Re-signing Jason Demers makes sense, but the money spent on him does not. The San Jose Sharks have too little salary cap room left for the remaining spots available to spend $1.5 million on anyone that is at the bottom of the depth chart.
The 25-year old’s best season has still been his rookie season (21 points in 51 games)—the offensively-minded defenseman has just 16 points in his last 79 games. Thus, there is little reason to expect him to take that next step beyond the third pair. He may not even be the best player on that pair, and could be in competition with at least two others for the final two spots.
Unlike Jason Demers, Scott Hannan was healthy for the Stanley Cup playoffs and played very well. The stay-at-home defenseman had four assists in 11 games as well as being among the league-leading shot-blockers through the first two rounds.
But if the San Jose Sharks are going to load up on youth on the blue line (all but two of their top eight options are under 30), Hannan would seem to be out of place. The 34-year old can still play, but if he does that stunts the development of a young player. If not, he takes up too much cap space for a reserve—probably about $300,000 more than the amount the team has per person to fill out their roster.