According to TVA Sports in Montreal, the Sharks have signed defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to a 5-year, $21.25 million contract extension carrying an average annual cap hit of $4.25 million. Vlasic has one year remaining on the 4-year, $12.4 million deal he inked as a restricted free agent.
This is about as close to a steal as we're going to see anymore in the NHL. If there's one thing Doug Wilson has consistently excelled at during his tenure as Sharks GM (and, despite his detractors, there are a lot of things he's excelled at), it's retaining the franchise's homegrown talent at extremely fair rates. This contract extension might be his best. The closest cap hit comparables to Vlasic's new deal include the likes of Keith Ballard, Ed Jovanovski and Anton Volchenkov and his hit will be lower than defensemen like Dan Hamhuis, Braydon Coburn and the hilariously awful Jack Johnson. And, of course, save for Coburn all of those d-men signed their deals under a lower salary cap.
As we mentioned in Vlasic's season review, the 25-year-old controlled play at evens matching up against opposing teams' best forwards all season long. The only defensemen in the NHL to face both a higher quality of competition than Vlasic this past year and finish with a higher Corsi rate (an on-ice shot differential metric that tracks closely with puck possession and scoring chances) were all-world veterans Nicklas Lidstrom and Kimmo Timonen. Which is fitting since the mark of Vlasic's game, even when he broke into the league as a 19-year-old six years ago, has always been his veteran-like positional play and defensive prowess.
With the extension, the Sharks will have quite a bit of money tied up in their defense beginning in the 2013-14 season (of course, they already lead the league in defense salary) with their top four on the back end of Vlasic, Dan Boyle, Brent Burns and Brad Stuart carrying a combined cap hit a shade over $20 million. Luckily, the only significant players the team will need to re-sign (or replace through free agency) that summer are Ryane Clowe and Jason Demers, neither of whom should command an outrageous raise.
UPDATE: Capgeek reports that the deal is actually for $21.25 million, not $21 million which means the cap hit on Vlasic's extension works out to $4.25 million. His deal also has a NTC.