Sharks

Jones in line for big raise if Sharks can get him signed

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USATI

Jones in line for big raise if Sharks can get him signed

One of the more important items on general manager Doug Wilson’s agenda this offseason is signing goalie Martin Jones to a long-term contract extension. Wilson has already called it a priority to get something done with the 27-year-old who has established himself as one of the league’s better starters, after Jones helped the Sharks reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2016 and made his first appearance in the NHL All-Star Game in 2017.

How much could Jones – who is set to enter the final year of his three-year, $9 million deal – stand to make? There have already been a couple notable goalie contracts handed out since the regular season ended, providing an indication.

Simply put, Jones, who would be unrestricted in 2018, is in line to get a healthy raise.

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Last week, the goalie-starved Dallas Stars acquired Ben Bishop’s rights from the Los Angeles Kings, and promptly signed him to a six-year, $29.5 million contract ($4.92 AAV).

Bishop has more experience than Jones as a starter, but the vital numbers are similar. In 270 career games, Bishop has a 2.32 goals-against average and .919 save percentage, while Jones has a 2.27 GAA and .916 career save percentage in 164 games.

Bishop and Jones also have comparable – and solid – playoff numbers. While Bishop is 21-13 with a 2.09 GAA and .927 SP in the postseason, Jones is 16-14 with a 2.01 GAA and .925 SP. In the first round against Edmonton, Jones was hardly the reason the Sharks lost in six games, as he got just seven goals of support in games not including the 7-0 Sharks blowout win in Game 4.

The biggest difference between Bishop and Jones is age, as the 30-year-old Bishop is more than three years older. That should make the Sharks goalie more valuable, as he’s entering the prime years of his career.

The other contract to look at is Scott Darling. The backup to Corey Crawford in Chicago was dealt to Carolina on April 28, and promptly signed a four-year, $16.6 million contract. He’ll presumably take over the starter’s role there.

While Darling put up some good numbers in Chicago – he’s 39-17-9 with a 2.37 GAA and .923 SP in his career – he’s still just played 75 games in the NHL in front of one of the best teams in the league over that span. That he signed a contract with a $4.15 AAV is indicative of how much NHL teams are willing to pay for good goaltending, even if those goaltenders haven’t yet proved themselves as a number one.

Jones, who has proven himself after the Sharks took a similar chance, has already expressed his desire to sign a long-term deal with San Jose. There’s no reason to believe there are any major obstacles to getting something done.

Based on what has happened so far this summer, the guess here is Jones’ average annual salary settles somewhere in the $5.5 – $6 million range if a multi-year deal is struck, as he's simply more valuable than either Bishop or Darling.

Talks are allowed to begin on July 1.

Marleau shows off his Maple Leafs colors at Sharks' practice facility

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USATSI

Marleau shows off his Maple Leafs colors at Sharks' practice facility

There was a dash of blue among the teal and white sweaters at the Sharks captain’s ice session on Wednesday.

Patrick Marleau, who signed a three-year, $16.75 million deal with Toronto in the offseason, was among the dozen or so skaters that were on the ice at the Sharks’ practice facility with training camp a little more than three weeks away. The 37-year-old was dressed head to toe in his bright blue Maple Leafs attire, likely a shocking sight for longtime Sharks fans that saw in a San Jose sweater for the first 19 seasons of his career.

It’s not uncommon for the Sharks, or other teams, to allow players from other teams to utilize their local practice facilities before training camp begins.

Among Sharks skaters also taking part in the skate were Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi, Aaron Dell, Ryan Carpenter and Kevin Labanc. 

Thornton, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery on his ACL and MCL, looked to be moving well. He signed a one-year, $8 million contract extension with the Sharks in the offseason.

The Sharks will hold their first on-ice training camp session on Friday, Sep. 15.

Marleau makes his first appearance as a visiting player at SAP Center on Oct. 30.

Five months after taking puck to face, Sharks' Logan Couture 'still pretty sore'

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AP

Five months after taking puck to face, Sharks' Logan Couture 'still pretty sore'

Nearly five months after taking a puck to the mouth that resulted in major damage, Logan Couture is still dealing with the aftereffects of his surgically repaired mouth, which now features several false teeth.

Appearing on the NHL Network this week, Couture was asked how he’s feeling with less than one month to go before the Sharks open training camp on Sep. 14.

“There’s good days and bad days,” Couture said. “My bottom teeth are still my real teeth. They’ve tried to keep them so I don’t lose them. I don’t know if I’ll be able to, they’re still pretty sore. My top teeth are all fake now – my front six, I think. So, it’s different. It just feels different in my mouth. 

“But everything else with my face and all that is healed. I’m lucky that it’s an injury that didn’t affect my training, and hopefully won’t affect me going forward.”

Couture was injured on March 25 in Nashville. He was set up just outside the crease in the offensive zone when a Brent Burns point shot hit a stick before squarely battering the now 28-year-old’s mouth.

After missing the final seven games of the regular season, Couture returned for the Sharks’ playoff opener. He managed to play in all six games of the first round loss, posting two goals and one assist for three points, although he struggled at times and was seemingly targeted by the Oilers.

Couture is currently in his hometown of London, Ontario where he’s staging a casino event for brain research. Fellow Sharks Chris Tierney and Dylan DeMelo will take part, as will other NHL stars like the Kings’ Drew Doughty.