Irwin excited to join Sharks

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Irwin excited to join Sharks

CHICAGO Matt Irwin got the call a little past midnight.

Around 12:30 a.m. in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Irwin was notified that the Sharks would need him in Chicago prior to Sundays game against the powerful Blackhawks. He left the team hotel around 3:00 a.m. local time, caught a 6:00 a.m. flight, and arrived at the United Center at 1:40 p.m. CST.

Its been a long day, but its something Ive been waiting for, and its exciting, he said before the game, in which he ended up being a healthy scratch.

Todd McLellan was asked to describe Irwins game.

Offensive catalyst for Worcester. He shoots the puck well, and hard. Obviously, at that level, hes been very, very confident, skating pucks out of trouble, making initial passes. A puck-moving, reliable defenseman at that level. We hope that he brings some of those skills here tonight.

One area Irwin could see some action is on the power play. The Sharks are just one for their last 25 with a man advantage, including an 0-for-6 effort on Saturday night. Irwin has six power play goals for Worcester, and is second on the team in scoring with 16 points (7g, 9a).

He could play in that situation. Hes an offensive guy and had a hell of a year down there, said McLellan. Hes been seeing the ice very well and deserves the opportunity to come up.

If thats where they put me, Ill do my best, said the 24-year-old, who signed as a free agent with the Sharks in March, 2010. Hopefully, I can contribute wherever the coaching staff feels that they can slide me in. Ill be happy to do whatever. Im here to help the team win, and contribute.

Irwin was glad to see at least one familiar face in the Sharks' dressing room. He and Justin Braun were paired together not only in Worcester, but at the University of Massachusetts from 2008-10.

Although he didn't play against the Blackhawks, Irwin was asked what it would be like to see names like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the other side of the ice.

That will be cool. Its a dream come true," he said. "You always want to play at this level and to see those guys across from you, and competing against them is something that Ive dreamed about for my whole life.

Sharks ink pair of European prospects

Sharks ink pair of European prospects

The Sharks officially announced the signing of defenseman Radim Simek to a one-year contract on Tuesday, as well as Swedish forward Filip Sandberg to a two-year contract.

Simek’s deal was reported on Monday and confirmed by NBC Sports California. The contract is valued at $925,000 for the 2017-18 season, a source confirmed. The 24-year-old defenseman spent the past five seasons in the Czech league, posting 24 points (11g, 13a) and 30 penalty minutes with a plus-18 rating last season. A left-handed shot, he is listed at five-foot-11 and 196 pounds on the IIHL website.

In 211 career games in the Czech league, he posted 91 points (37g, 54a) and a plus-51 rating.

"Radim is a quick transition defenseman who drives the play offensively and plays with a physical edge," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We like his offensive instincts especially on special teams and think his game will translate well in North America."

Sandberg, 22, has 71 points (25g, 46a) in 204 career games in the Swedish league. Last season, he posted 25 points (8g, 17a) and a plus-17 rating in 52 games.

Sandberg is set to make $742,500 in 2017-18 and $792,500 in 2018-19, a source confirmed.

The five-foot-nine, 180-pound Stockholm native also competed in the World Jr. Championships in 2013 and 2014, helping Sweden win silver both years.

"Filip is a very creative player who sees the ice well and can create offense in limited space," Wilson said. "He plays a high-pressure, puck-pursuit game and his battle level is something we have been impressed with, especially against older players. We are excited for him to join our organization."

The contracts for Simek and Forsberg are two-way deals, allowing them to play for the AHL Barracuda next season.

Sharks sign defenseman from Czech Republic

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AP

Sharks sign defenseman from Czech Republic

The Sharks have signed Czech defenseman Radim Simek to a one-year contract.

The two-way deal, originally reported by Radio Praha in the Czech Republic, is expected to be announced by the Sharks later this week, according to a source. Simek just finished competing for his country in the 2017 IIHF World Championships, skating in all eight games for the Czech Republic while posting one goal, one assist, 11 shots and a minus-two rating.

Simek, 24, has spent the last five seasons in the Czech League. In 42 games for Liberec in 2016-17, he posted 24 points (11g, 13a) and 30 penalty minutes with a plus-18 rating. A left-handed shot, he is listed at five-foot-11 and 196 pounds on the IIHF website.

The New York Rangers were also interested in Simek, according to the report.

Simek will likely begin next season with the AHL Barracuda.

The Sharks have signed a number of free agents out of Europe in recent seasons, including Joonas Donskoi in 2015 and Marcus Sorensen and Tim Heed last May.