2022 NHL Free Agency: Sharks qualify 6 players, will not qualify Dahlen, Meloche
The team retains the rights to Sasha Chmelevski, Jonah Gadjovich, Noah Gregor, Luke Kunin, Mario Ferraro and Kaapo Kahkonen.
On Monday afternoon, San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier announced that the team has issued qualifying offers to six players and thus retain their negotiating rights. Players who received offers are forwards Sasha Chmelevski, Jonah Gadjovich, Noah Gregor, and the newly acquired Luke Kunin, defender Mario Ferraro and goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen.
Chmelevski, drafted by the Sharks in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL Draft, appeared in 19 NHL games during the 2021-22 season, putting up 8 assists. With the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda, Chmelevski appeared in 47 games and netted 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists).
Gadjovich, drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft, played 43 games during the 2021-22 season, during which he totaled 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists). Gadjovich scored his first NHL goal on Feb. 27 in a 3-1 win against the Seattle Kraken.
Gregor, a 2016 fourth-round Sharks draft pick, appeared in 63 games, scoring 23 points (8 goals, 15 assists). The 23-year-old bounced around the line-up during the season, playing wing on both sides for all four lines while also slotting into both power play units.
Kunin, acquired last week from the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward John Leonard, played in all 82 regular-season games during the 2021-22 season, as well as all four postseason games against the Colorado Avalanche. Kunin tallied 22 points (13 goals, 9 assists) during the regular season and 1 assist during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Ferraro, a Sharks second-round draft pick in 2017, played in 63 games during the season with 14 points (2 goals, 12 assists). The newest alternate captain sat out some games due to injury, but still averaged 23 minutes per game.
Goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen, acquired by the team on March 21 in exchange for defender Jacob Middleton, played in 36 games split between the Minnesota Wild and Sharks. Kahkonen finished the season with a 14-14 record, .912 save percentage and 2.87 goals against average (GAA).
Eight pending restricted free agents were not issued qualifying offers, most notably forward Jonathan Dahlen and defender Nicolas Meloche. Forwards Joachim Blichfeld, Jake McGrew, Zach Gallant, Antoine Morand, defender Brinson Pasichnuk and goaltender Zachary Sawchenko were not issued qualifying offers. These players will all become unrestricted free agents. Blichfeld has already signed a two-year contract with the Vaxjo Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League.
Dahlen, son of former Sharks forward Ulf Dahlen, was the team’s Rookie of the Year during the 2021-22 season, scoring 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists) in 61 games. Despite the great success during the first half of the season, Dahlen totaled just 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) after the All-Star break.
Meloche netted 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists) in 50 games, averaging nearly 17 minutes per game. With Meloche gone, the Sharks are now down to just four right-handed defenders in Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, Ryan Merkley and 2021 draft pick Gannon Laroque.
Free agency will begin at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 13.