Tomas Hertl staying with Sharks, signs 2-year deal

ByPierre LeBrun ESPN logo
Thursday, June 30, 2016

The San Jose Sharks have re-signed one of their key young players, Tomas Hertl, to a two-year deal, the club announced Thursday.

A source told the deal is worth $2.8 million in the first year and $3.2 million in the second year, for a $3 million cap hit.

Hertl, 22, had 21 goals and 25 assists last season. He was impactful in the playoffs, putting up 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 20 games while playing on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.

"I won't even put a limit on him,'' general manager Doug Wilson said. "He just gets better and better. He's a big, strong guy. ... When we drafted him, we expected him to be a dominant player and so does he. He has high expectations for himself. He loves to play the game. You can see that smile on his face. It's contagious.''

The Sharks, who lost to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup finals, might also add a player or two Friday when the free-agent market opens. But the organization's next big negotiation -- which has already begun, according to a source -- is taking care of franchise defenseman Brent Burns, who is one year away from unrestricted free agency.

The expectation is that the Sharks will sign Burns to a long-term extension this offseason.

Wilson said he expects to have conversations next summer with Hertl about a longer-term deal, but both sides thought it was best to opt for a "bridge'' contract because of Hertl's potential to emerge into a star. He will be eligible to be a restricted free agent when this deal is done in 2018.

"It's good for me, too, because now I have two years to show my best hockey and show I can play longer here with the Sharks,,'' Hertl said. "It's on me. It's better to sign the contract and we'll see the next two years how I play.''

Wilson said he is having talks with two other pending restricted free agents: forward Matt Nieto and defenseman Dylan DeMelo. Wilson previously said he will let pending unrestricted free agents Roman Polak, Nick Spaling, James Reimer and Dainius Zubrus hit the market Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.