Restricted free agent Matt Nieto is still without a contract as NHL free agency has severely slowed down after the craziness of the first few days in July. As a RFA, the Sharks can match any offer Nieto receives from a team or can choose to let him walk depending on what other NHL franchises believe he’s worth.
In 2015-2016, Nieto tallied 17 points for the Sharks playing primarily on the third and fourth lines, although he did skate some shifts with the second at times. The 17 points are a ten point drop off by his 27 he totaled in 2014-2015, but Nieto missed the final few weeks of the regular season due to a hand injury and some of the playoffs on what was described as an “upper-body” injury.
Although he hasn’t been signed yet and the Sharks don’t have a lot of cap space, I’d be surprised to see Nieto wearing any other color that’s not teal next season. He turns 24 in November and has been a solid contributor during his two and a half seasons with the Sharks. One of the final forward spots will be a battle between Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto (barring he’s resigned) and I think it’s easy to think who will win that spot.
2015-16 Sharks 5v5 Forward Usage Chart (via Corsica Hockey):
ZSR: Zone Start Ratio; The percentage of non-neutral zone starts that are offensive zone starts (OZS/(OZS + DZS))
TOI.QoT: Time On Ice Quality of Teammates; The weighted average TOI% of a player’s teammates
Rel.CF%: Individual corsi-for percentage subtracted by the team’s overall corsi-for percentage.
Matt Nieto Hero Chart (via Own The Puck):
Give credit to Joonas Donskoi for setting this play up, but what an absolutely filthy goal by Nieto. Unfortunately, NHL.com’s highlight misses the live goal of this, but the replay shows the beauty of the goal.