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Sharks sign goaltender Strauss Mann to 1-year contract

After going pro in Sweden, the former Wolverine lands his first NHL contract.

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Goalkeeper Strauss Mann #31 of Team United States looks on during the Men’s Ice Hockey Quarterfinal match between Team United States and Team Slovakia on Day 12 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at National Indoor Stadium on February 16, 2022 in Beijing, China. Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The San Jose Sharks shored up their goaltending pipeline on Tuesday morning, signing goaltender Strauss Mann to a one-year, entry-level contract. Terms of the contract were not disclosed, as per club policy, though it will likely be public in the coming days.

“Strauss is a quick athletic goalie with history of leadership and success exemplified by being named the first goalie Captain at University of Michigan in 78 years,” said Shin Larsson, Sharks Supervisor of European Scouting in the release. “He followed his successful collegiate career with a strong season for Skelleftea in the SHL and represented Team USA at the most recent Olympics. We look forward to adding a quality goaltender and person to our organization.”

Mann finished his career with the Michigan Wolverines after three seasons in 2020-21, during which he was named captain and recorded a goals against average of 1.89 (GAA) and a save percentage (SV%) of .930. He was the first goaltender in 78 years to be made an NCAA captain, earning the trust of a star-studded dressing room that included Sharks prospect Thomas Bordeleau, and 11 other NHL prospects. The title was well-earned, as Mann had previously been awarded Michigan Student Athlete Rookie of the Year (2018-19), as well as being named to the First All-Star Team (2019-20), a Second Team All-Star (2020-21) and twice Academic All-Big Ten (2019-20, 2020-21). He finished his final NCAA season as the Big Ten’s Goaltender of the Year.

Mann surprisingly did not ink an NHL deal, and thus signed overseas with Swedish Hockey League side Skelleftea AIK for the 2021-22 season. There, the 23-year-old netminder had a strong first professional season, finishing fifth in the SHL in GAA (2.19) and sixth in save percentage (.914). That strong performance allowed the Connecticut native an opportunity to crack the United States men’s Olympic ice hockey team, playing in two games at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, posting a 1.85 GAA and .945 SV%.

In his annual college and European free agent list from 2021, The Athletic’s Corey Pronman ranked Mann third, noting that “Mann is an intelligent goalie who can make the smart read and efficient play, but also has great quickness to make the tough save,” but raised the question of Mann’s size. He stands exactly six feet tall, and weighs 174 pounds.