The Sharks bolstered their American Hockey League roster on Tuesday by signing four players to one-year contracts, including goaltender Alex Stalock. Defensemen Danny Groulx and Matt Irwin, and forward Bracken Kearns were also inked to deals.
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All will almost certainly begin the 2012-13 season in Worcester.
Stalock, 24, is the biggest name of the four, as he remains one of the organizations top prospects. Originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Stalock missed most of the 2011-12 season with a serious nerve injury behind his left knee that occurred a year earlier.
He appeared in six games with Stockton, posting a 5-1-0 record with a 2.83 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. He appeared in five AHL games between Worcester and Peoria, combining to post a 3-1-0 record with a 1.87 goals-against average, .932 save percentage and one shutout.
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At this point, Stalock and Harri Sateri will likely be goalie tandem for Worcester.
Irwin, 24, has spent the last two full seasons in Worcester. In 71 games last season, he had 11 goals and 31 assists for 42 points and 48 penalty minutes. The 6-2, 210-pounder native signed by San Jose as a free agent on March 23, 2010.
Groulx, 31, has spent the last two seasons in Russias KHL after parts of seven years in the AHL. The 6-0, 203-pound defenseman spent the 2009-10 season in Worcester, recording 14 goals and 52 assists for 66 points and 80 penalty minutes. He was named as the AHLs best defenseman after the season.
In his seven-year pro career, Kearns, 31, has played in just five NHL games, all coming last season with the Florida Panthers. He was scoreless with 10 penalty minutes.
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In 407 career AHL games, the 6-0, 190-pound Kearns has 89 goals and 131 assists.