Reports surfaced over the weekend that San Jose had re-signed Tommy Wingels and now it's official: the Sharks have re-upped the restricted free agent winger to a 3-year, $7.4 million contract. The deal carries an annual cap hit of $2.46 million and will make Wingels an unrestricted free agent in 2017.
This seems like a reasonable contract for both sides that could become a very favorable one for the Sharks if Wingels can string together more seasons like his 2013-14 campaign when he scored a career-high 16 goals (14 at even-strength) and 38 points. Beyond the counting stats, Wingels had an unbelievable year on the penalty kill. When Wingels was on the ice in 4-on-5 situations last season, the Sharks outscored opposing power plays 6-5 and gave up fewer shots than with any other regular penalty killer. Wingels was also lineup spackle at even-strength, capably filling any holes created by injury.
Assuming the Sharks don't add any other forwards this summer, their optimal lineup probably features Wingels on the top line alongside Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton, allowing Joe Pavelski to drop back down to third-line center. Whether Todd McLellan will deploy his lineup that way remains to be seen but Wingels having another productive season offensively would go a long way towards providing the Sharks the depth they need to compete with the Western Conference's top clubs. In addition to being an awesome human being, Wingels looks to be a pretty key piece of this team going forward.
With the Wingels signing, the Sharks now have 14 NHL forwards (well, John Scott and Mike Brown may not be NHL forwards but they have NHL contracts at any rate) signed with a 15th on the way once they come to terms with RFA James Sheppard. Even assuming Tye McGinn starts the season in Worcester, the Sharks would probably prefer to spend an extra roster spot on an eighth defenseman given how young they project to be on the blueline. It seems like a good bet a roster forward will be moved between now and training camp.