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.

Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’

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AP

Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’

SAN JOSE — There was something familiar missing in San Jose when the Sharks opened training camp.

For the first time since 1996, the Sharks took the ice for their first training camp practice without Patrick Marleau on the team as the franchise's career leader in games and scoring left as a free agent for Toronto this summer.

"I've spent a lot of years with him. It is kind of strange," said Joe Thornton, who came to San Jose in 2005. "It's his birthday today too. It's a little weird, but he's going to do great up in Toronto."

Marleau had been with San Jose since being picked second overall in 1997 but left the Sharks to sign an $18.75 million, three-year deal with the Maple Leafs in July.

Marleau has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points. He had 46 points in playing all 82 games last season as he rebounded from a disappointing 2015-16 season by scoring 27 goals, including the 500th of his career. He ranks first in San Jose in career goals, games and points.

Only six players in NHL history have played more games with one team than Marleau's 1,493 in San Jose. The Sharks haven't played a game without him on the ice since April 7, 2009.

"Obviously Patty has meant so much to this organization and this group," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Everyone in this room has pretty much played with him and Patty has done something to help them out. He'll be missed. ... Just by committee somebody will step in and fill that kind of hole. That's what we'll need."

The Sharks made no major additions this offseason so will need to replace Marleau's 27 goals by getting development from younger players like Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Danny O'Regan, as well as bounce-back seasons from veterans like Thornton, Mikkel Boedker and Joonas Donskoi.

Only Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns are back after scoring more than 12 goals last season.

"When I look back at last year we had key people either have down years or miss significant time with injuries or coming off injuries," coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think if we can stay healthy I think we've got a large group of guys that can really take a step this year and I expect a step out of them."

While the Sharks lost Marleau in free agency, they did manage to keep Thornton by giving him a one-year, $8 million contract despite dwindling production last season and offseason knee surgery.

He scored just seven goals — his fewest in an 82-game season since his rookie year in 1997-98 — and was a key part of a power-play unit that uncharacteristically struggled last season. But he still managed 43 assists, teaming with captain Joe Pavelski on San Jose's top line.

Thornton missed the final week of the regular season and the first two playoff games with a left knee injury before returning for the final four games of a first-round loss to Edmonton. Thornton then underwent surgery to repair his MCL and ACL after the season but was back skating in August and started ramping it up for training camp two weeks ago. Thornton believes the lower-body work he did in rehab this offseason will pay dividends on the ice.

"They feel real strong," he said of his legs. "I feel a lot of pop out there. They're probably as strong as they've ever been just because I had to rehab that knee so much."

Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks

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Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks

The boys were back together in San Jose on Thursday for Sharks Media Day, with plenty of smiles and moments of levity. Check out the highlights...

Hey Jumbo, you dropped something. 👖🤷‍♂️

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Martin Jones is pretty good at photobombs 📸💣

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🤳 Media Day #SJSharks

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New season. New commercials. 🕉🚌📺 #ComingSoon #SharksForLife

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