Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz will present 10 suggestions (one per weekday) for what the Sharks should do before training camp opens in mid-September. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section below.
#4 -- Re-sign Raffi Torres
Even before he pulled a teal sweater over his head for the first time, Raffi Torres mentioned how much he always liked playing in San Jose's electric building as an opponent.
Less than two months later, Torres made it public that he’d like to remain in San Jose as part of the home team, telling reporters: “It’s not going to be hard to make a decision to stay here. They know I want to. It’s a great group of guys in here, starting with Joe [Thornton] and right down to [Logan Couture], and the goaltending. It’s just a good group of guys, and it would be a good place to win here.”
No single Sharks player generated as wide a range of emotions among the fan base than Torres. There was a smattering of boos when his name was first announced on the public address system at the then-HP Pavilion, as some fans were slow to forgive Torres for some previous actions, but those boos quickly turned to cheers when Torres laid some big hits on opposing players and started showing up on the scoresheet.
In the second round against the Kings, it was anger at the NHL’s asinine decision to suspend Torres for the remainder of the series that overcame the Sharks' faithful, when the winger was banned for the final six games of the seven-game series for hitting Jarret Stoll on what the Los Angeles center later called a “hockey play.”
In 11 regular season games after the trade deadline deal with Phoenix, Torres had two goals and four assists for six points. He also scored the game-winning goal in a shootout on April 16 against the Kings in his first big moment with the team, when Todd McLellan surprisingly chose him to take part in the tiebreaker. His most memorable goal came in the first round against the Vancouver Canucks, when he deposited a pass from Brent Burns on a two-on-one rush in overtime of Game 2 of the first round sweep.
Off of the ice, it was evident to anyone who was around the Sharks on a daily basis that Torres fit in well with his teammates. Several of them mentioned after the season ended that they’re hopeful Torres returns, including the captain.
“We hope he comes back. He’s a great player,” Thornton said. “He’s a great addition that Doug made. … Just a real good guy. A good guy, a good team guy. Just a fun guy to be around, as well.”
Torres will be 32 years old at the start of next season, and getting him signed to a multi-year deal shouldn’t be difficult for the organization. The winger will likely command between $2-3 million annually, and at this stage in his career, is probably seeking a longer-term deal than the two-year, $3.5 million contract he signed with Phoenix that he just completed.
As mentioned on Monday, the Sharks have more than enough salary cap space to lock up Torres and subsequently fill out their roster. Considering the impact he made in his brief stint with the Sharks, this is a deal that should get done relatively easily.