Desjardins signs two-year deal with Sharks
Andrew Desjardins had 28 hits playing in all 11 Sharks playoff games last season. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN JOSE – The Sharks have re-signed forward Andrew Desjardins to a two-year contract and forward James Sheppard to a one-year contract, the team announced on Wednesday. Both players were pending restricted free agents.
Desjardins' deal is for $750,000 in each of the two seasons, a source confirmed to CSNCalifornia.com. Sheppard's contract is worth $830,000, according to CapGeek.com.
“They play the way that we’re looking for them and for our team to play,” GM Doug Wilson said in a conference call, shortly after the deals were announced. “In [Sheppard’s] case in particular, to see him get back healthy and play the way that he did in the playoffs, and have him back on track, is exciting. [Desjardins] is just a competitive, hard-nosed faceoff guy that can go up and play with other players.”
Desjardins, 26, has seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points and 112 penalty minutes in three seasons with the Sharks. He had two goals and an assist for three points in 42 games in 2013.
The Lively, Ontario native skated primarily in a fourth line role and was one of the team’s key penalty killers, averaging one minute and nine seconds per game on that much-improved unit.
Wilson said: “He does all the things that matter – faceoffs, he’ll PK, he’ll block shots. He can certainly skate. He’ll battle anybody and stand up for his teammates. … He will do the things that aren’t easy things to do. You earn equity with that.”
The six-foot-one, 200-pound Desjardins would have been an unrestricted free agent next summer, but is content continuing his career in the Bay Area. He originally signed as a free agent with the Sharks on June 26, 2010.
“I’m happy to be back in San Jose. I love the city, love playing there, love the fans. It’s a great group of guys. I’m just excited to get back and start this two-year deal off good.”
As for the two-year deal, his first multiple-year professional contract after four consecutive one-year deals, Desjardins said: “It’s just good to have that little bit of security in this world.”
Sheppard, 25, returned from a nearly three-year absence due to a serious knee injury in 2013, scoring one goal and three assists for four points and 12 penalty minutes in 32 games. He was acquired by the Sharks from Minnesota on August 8, 2011 for a third round pick in the 2013 draft.
Wilson expects the former first round draft pick to continue improving from that potentially career-ending injury incurred on an ATV in September, 2010.
“When you see a guy who goes through adversity and a challenge like this, it does reveal his character. This is a kid that was a very highly drafted player and very talented player that I think his best hockey is ahead of him.
“Now, I think you’re going to see him flourish, and I’m not even going to put a limit on where he can get to.”
The six-foot-one, 205-pound Sheppard, the Sharks’ 2013 nominee for the Masterton Trophy for perseverance in hockey, will continue to improve physically this offseason.
“It’s such an intricate injury that I think I’m not going to be 100 percent maybe ever, but always getting closer and closer," said the Halifax, Nova Scotia native. "The more time passes the better I feel on the ice, and stronger I feel training, and things like that. I’m glad to get an extra three months of summer where I can train really hard, and get my treatments and my leg and knee and my entire body to where I want it to be.”
“I still expect more and expect to play better, and I have some more goals for myself and what I have to accomplish. The more time passes, the better I feel I’ll be.”
The Sharks still have several players that would become restricted free agents on July 5, including defenseman Jason Demers and forward TJ Galiardi. Without mentioning any names, Wilson, who is in New Jersey for the NHL Entry Draft this Sunday, indicated talks are ongoing.
“We’ve got a couple more that we’re working on, and hopefully we’ll get them prior to the weekend,” he said.