SAN JOSE — The Sharks have officially re-signed restricted free agent Chris Tierney to a one-year contract.
Tierney collected 23 points (11g, 12a) in 80 games in his third season with the Sharks last year, serving primarily as the team’s fourth line center after Tomas Hertl returned from a knee injury in January.
“We believe Chris has yet to hit his prime, but has already proven that he can be a key member on our penalty kill and the defensive side of the puck,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a media release. “We are excited to watch his offensive development as he continues to use his strong two-way hockey sense to impact the youthful infusion of our roster.”
The contract was first reported by TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie on Monday. The deal is reportedly worth $735,000.
The Sharks are expecting Tierney to take a leap forward in his fourth NHL season next year, helping to replace some of the offensive production that the team lost when Patrick Marleau and his 27 goals departed for the Toronto Maple Leafs in unrestricted free agency earlier this month. Head coach Pete DeBoer called Tierney out by name when addressing his team’s shortcomings following its elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs in April, insisting that the squad needs to get more from the cerebral forward.
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Tierney’s return to the Sharks ensures that the team will continue to have one of the deepest center alignments in the NHL next year. In addition to Tierney, the Sharks center lineup includes Hertl, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Ryan Carpenter, a standout with the AHL Barracuda who earned a two-year contract after collecting 17 points in 15 games during the Calder Cup playoffs.
The 23-year-old center will likely start the season at the Sharks fourth line center position as Carpenter proved he’s capable of playing on the wing with the Barracuda last year. But if Tierney struggles, he could be fighting for playing time next season with the emergence of Carpenter and other centers, such as Danny O’Regan and Rourke Chartier, in the AHL.
Tierney made a name for himself during the Sharks run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016, serving as the team’s third line center against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Finals. Although he held his own in matchups against players, such as Evgeni Malkin and Paul Stastny, in the playoffs, he failed to carry the momentum into the 2016-17 season, leaving his longterm future with the Sharks in a state of uncertainty despite the one-year deal.
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