Vlasic's presence allowing Burns to succeed

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Vlasic's presence allowing Burns to succeed

NEW YORK, NY Sure, you were happy when the Sharks acquired Brent Burns this offseason. After all, Burns is one of the most well-rounded defensemen in the game, and filled a need that the Sharks were desperately missing last season.

You probably werent as happy as Marc-Edouard Vlasic, though, who must have figured right after the deal that he had a new partner on the blue line.

Vlasic and Burns are getting more and more comfortable with each passing game. While Burns was the one in the spotlight on Saturday night after scoring the game-winning overtime goal, though, Vlasic was busy making sure that game got to overtime at all.

We touched on this a little bit in the game recap of the 3-2 win over the Islanders, but its worth looking into a little more.

Vlasic made three key plays in the third period while many of his teammates appeared a little fatigued from the near end of a long road trip and second game in as many nights.

Early in the third, Islanders speedster John Tavares was a half step away from going in on a breakaway, but Vlasic was there to wrap him up as soon as the puck arrived on Tavares stick. A few minutes later in the third, Vlasic had the presence of mind to retreat from the offensive zone when he saw that she Sharks were about to lose possession. Doing so allowed him to keep an eye on Michael Grabner, who may be the Islanders most dangerous scorer after Tavares, and snuff out a scoring chance when Grabner was flying up the wing with the puck.

His biggest play, though, came on a shorthanded three-on-two rush with 3:27 remaining. Vlasic anticipated a pass to Grabner, kept his stick low to the ice, and knocked away a cross-ice pass that could have spelled trouble for the Sharks.

The stats are a reflection of Vlasics game. Hes tied for the team lead with a 6, is fourth in time-on-ice at 21:52, and has just one minor penalty all season.

Its tough not to watch Brent Burns as he flies around the ice, but Vlasics positioning and ability to defend allows Burns to do that in the first place. Never was that more evident than the third period and overtime on Saturday night.

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.