NHL Free Agency 2017: Sharks re-sign Vlasic, Jones to big extensions

Eight-year and six-year deals, respectively.

While the hockey world awaited to learn the fates of franchise legends Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, the San Jose Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson’s reportedly checked the most important offseason priority off of his checklist, and re-signed defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and goaltender Martin Jones to long contract extensions, the team announced today.

Vlasic signed for eight years, while Jones signed for six. The former’s contract is reportedly worth $56 million ($7 million annually), while the latter’s deal is worth $34.5 million, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun. Vlasic’s reported cap hit ties him with Ottawa Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf and Los Angeles Kings blueliner Drew Doughty as the ninth-highest in the league among defenders entering next season, while Jones’ reported annual average value (AAV) ties him with Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury as the league’s 12th-most among goalies.

Wilson said earlier this offseason that locking up Vlasic and Jones to extensions was his biggest priority. Vlasic, a 2007 second round pick that has grown into one of the league’s most effective shutdown defensemen, is now signed until he’s 39 years old.His deal is the second eight-year extension a Shark has signed in the last 12 months. In November, Brent Burns signed an eight-year, $64 million extension with San Jose and avoided becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer.

"We're thrilled we could get this extension done early and ensure one of the League's top defensemen will remain in San Jose for the long term," Wilson said in a statement. "Both Marc-Edouard and [Sharks owner] Hasso Plattner stepped forward and committed to get this deal done now, and this helps solidify our blueline for years to come. Marc-Edouard has been an integral part of this team, both on and off the ice, and we are excited to have him in San Jose for at least the next eight years."

The Sharks acquired Jones in a June 2015 trade with the Boston Bruins, and he’s been San Jose’s starter ever since. He started 65 games in each of the past two seasons, and backstopped the team to its first-ever Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2016. His contract ensures he is signed until he is 33.

"We're very happy we could get this extension done with Martin and feel that he is just beginning to hit his peak in terms of growth and prime playing seasons," Wilson said in a statement. "He has proven that he is more than capable of excelling in high-pressure situations and big games, and we feel he has become one of the top goaltenders in the League. He is a calming influence in net for our team and we're excited to have him in net for us for the foreseeable future."