With all of the recent absences from the San Jose Sharks, one thing has felt clear since the holiday break: this is Tomas Hertl’s team. The 28-year-old has yet to sign a contract extension with the club — and yes, has been the subject of trade rumors — but he’s making a case for Doug Wilson to do everything in his power to retain the super star forward.
And for the second time in his career, Hertl has been named an NHL Star of the Week, coming in at third this week, behind Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog and Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros.
Here’s what the league had to say about Hertl:
THIRD STAR – TOMAS HERTL, C, SAN JOSE SHARKS
Hertl registered 4-2—6, including a League-best two game-winning goals, in three contests to power the Sharks (19-16-1, 39 points) to a pair of victories. He collected one assist in a 6-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings Jan. 4. Hertl then notched his 30th and 31st career game-winning goals, recording 1‑1—2 in a 3-2 triumph over the Buffalo Sabres Jan. 6 and his fifth career hat trick (as well as his fifth career overtime goal) in a 3-2 comeback victory against the Philadelphia Flyers Jan. 8. The 28-year-old Prague, Czech Republic, native sits seventh in the NHL with 20 goals and tied for sixth in the League with four game-winning goals through 36 total outings this season (20-11—31).
The missing pieces in the Sharks’ line-up lately have been no small potatoes. Logan Couture and Jonathan Dahlen have both missed time on COVID Protocol, a hit to the team’s top-six, while Couture, Nick Bonino and Lane Pederson’s absences have wrecked the center depth. That’s not even including the injuries to Rudolfs Balcers and Kevin Labanc. The responsibility of being a number one veteran center fell onto Hertl and he took it and ran with it.
Couture especially has a reputation for coming in clutch, but Hertl’s one-man wrecking ball performance against the Flyers earlier this week shows the Sharks are in good hands.
Hertl is in the final year of a four-year contract with a $5.625 million cap hit. The final two seasons include a modified no-trade clause, allowing him to submit a three-team trade list. The real risk of losing Hertl may come in free agency, as he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent if an extension is not agreed upon.
The Sharks drafted Hertl 17th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He was previously named the First Star of the Week as a rookie in October 2013, thanks to the iconic four-goal game against the New York Rangers in his third-ever NHL game.