Sharks sign Scott Hannan for one year, $1 million; Tyler Kennedy for two years, $4.6 million

Thearon W. Henderson

San Jose re-upped the veteran defenseman and came to terms with the ex-Penguins winger acquired at last year's draft.

The Sharks' first moves on the opening day of free agency are to re-sign unrestricted free agent defenseman Scott Hannan, acquired at the 2013 trade deadline, to a one-year, $1 million contract and restricted free agent forward Tyler Kennedy, acquired from Pittsburgh at last weekend's draft in exchange for a second round pick, to a two-year, $4.6 million deal. From the horse's mouth:

Ultimately, the Hannan signing is fairly inconsequential--and actually saves the Sharks about $100k in cap space since it's now likely Matt Tennyson starts the season in Worcester--as long as he was brought back to be the club's seventh defenseman. Unfortunately, that's far from a guarantee; it's entirely possible the coaching staff sees Jason Demers in that role and instead reunites the Brad Stuart/Hannan pairing that they used for the entirety of the postseason. While that tandem was reasonably effective in the playoffs it comes with a substantial caveat; they were heavily sheltered to the tune of offensive zone start rates approaching and exceeding, respectively, 60% while spending about 40% of their ice time behind the Joe Thornton line. Neither defenseman can skate or move the puck, meaning that type of deployment is absolutely essential to make them resemble even an average third pairing.

The issue is that sort of usage is unfeasible over a full season, takes offensive opportunities away from defensemen like Dan Boyle and Matt Irwin who are capable of doing something useful with them and, within the context of Todd McLellan's system, tends to really overextend forwards as they bear almost the entire responsibility for zone exits when those two are on the ice, like this one. Hannan isn't awful; he still plays his angles relatively well and can soak up minutes on the penalty kill's second unit but his myriad limitations led him to really struggle with Nashville and Calgary over the past two seasons. You hope this isn't a situation where eleven decent playoff games in which he played the softest minutes imaginable clouded the Sharks' judgment.

Signing Kennedy, while perhaps a foregone conclusion, was a far better move. The former Penguins winger receives a modest raise over the $2 million he earned last season and, as we discussed at the time of the trade, projects nicely as a third-line winger alongside Joe Pavelski and Raffi Torres. CapGeek is currently down (the surest sign it's free agent day) but, by my calculation, these moves leave the Sharks with around $475,000 in cap space after factoring out Tennyson's cap hit, with a backup goalie to sign.

Elsewhere, the Coyotes signed Thomas Greiss to back up Mike Smith while Ryane Clowe signed a 5-year, $24.25 million contract with New Jersey, meaning the Sharks won't receive the Rangers' second round pick next year.

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