The San Jose Sharks today signed free agent defenseman Bret Hedican with the intention that he will challenge the Sharks current compliment of defenseman for a playoff roster spot.
Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson was excited about the move. "We wanted to add to our team without subtracting," Wilson said. "We wanted to get the right piece at the right time to be able to integrate and assimilate him into the lineup."
Hedican's credentials are impressive. The former St. Louis Blues draft pick won a Stanley Cup in the 2005-2006 season with the Carolina Hurricanes. He is a 17 year NHL veteran, and a two time Olympian for the United States. Hedican has served as an analyst for Comcast Sports Net Bay Area since the beginning of the current NHL season.
Through a team statement, Wilson detailed the team's long time interest in the former Stanley Cup winner. "Bret's a player that we've wanted to acquire for a long while now, and the opportunity finally presented itself. He has the reputation of being a real 'rink rat', which is something we've been looking to add to the team. Bret also has a Stanley Cup ring, and we think that he will bring needed experience to the dressing room."
As per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Wilson's interest in Hedican was reignited during a recent charity game played at HP Pavilion. "I was impressed with Hedican's play at the charity tournament; it was quickly evident that Brett still had some fuel left in the tank, and could contribute to the team. I also want to point out that he has covered the team for the better part of the year. He's familiar with the players and our system, and should fit in nicely."
Coach Todd McLellan had more to say on the signing, but tempered his expectations for the 39 year old defenseman. "We think that he'll provide the hockey club some energy and some grit and that's all we're asking of him," McLellan said. "If we ask any more of him or expect any more from him, I don't think we have a chance of success. We have to give hm a chance to feel good about himself and help him fit in with the team."
Niclas Wallin, who was acquired at the deadline by San Jose, is a former teammate of Hedican. Wallin, however, could not be reached for comment, but indicated through a team official that he was excited to have the opportunity to play with Hedican once more.
Hedican is expected to meet the team in Minnesota prior to their game on Friday, although it is unknown if he will dress for the game against the Wild.