The San Jose Sharks have re-signed 27-year-old defender Radim Simek to a four-year contract, General Manager Doug Wilson announced earlier today. Though the terms of the deal were not released, CapFriendly has the price tag for Simek at $9 million, with an annual cap hit of $2.25 million. An interesting feature of the contract — which was rumored to be in the ballpark of $8 million last week — is that Simek’s actual salary is front-loaded, decreasing in each of the third and fourth years, and does not include a signing bonus in its fourth year, 2023-24.
“Radim has been an integral piece of our team defense for the last two seasons,” said Wilson. “His style of play blends a sound defensive game, coupled with a heavy physical ingredient and good puck-moving skills. His impact on our club when he is in the lineup is undeniable and we’re pleased he will be part of our team’s core moving forward.”
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Simek was originally signed by the Sharks as a free agent in May of 2017, and spent the following season as the second-leading scorer in points (27), goals (7) and assists (20) among the AHL San Jose Barracuda’s defensive corps. He made the leap to the big club in 2018-19 and found chemistry with Brent Burns, eventually being named the Sharks’ “Rookie of the Year.”
(Also note that today is Brent Burns’ 35th birthday, which I am choosing to believe is a cute D-partner thing and not just because it’s Monday and Doug Wilson was in Boca Raton all last week. Let me have this.)
After trading Brenden Dillon and Justin Braun, as well as letting Joachim Ryan leave in free agency this past summer, the Sharks’ blueline has seen a decent amount of turnover, even just in the last year and especially in defenders of the “stay-at-home” variety. It would make sense if the organization is hoping to see Simek develop into the role that Dillon’s absence leaves.
However, there are concerns, and among them are that Simek hasn’t been the same since returning from surgery to repair both a torn MCL and ACL. Knee surgery is nothing to sneeze at, as Sharks fans have seen again and again with Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl, to name a few.
On the flipside, it’s been a down season for the entire team and perhaps a long summer could do him some good. The risk seems low enough in real dollars and the term isn’t the worst thing in the world. It may be a bit of an overpayment, but it’s far from the worst contract on the Sharks’ blueline. With only five current NHL defenders locked up for next season, there isn’t much more wiggle room left.