UPDATE (7/13/2017, 4:41 PM PST): The Sharks officially re-signed Tierney to a one-year deal, the team announced today.
“We believe Chris has yet to hit his prime, but has already proven that he can be a key member on our penalty kill and the defensive side of the puck,” Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. “We are excited to watch his offensive development as he continues to use his strong two-way hockey sense to impact the youthful infusion of our roster.”
The original story is as follows.
San Jose Sharks center Chris Tierney reportedly signed his qualifying offer, and will return to the team on a one-year, $735,000 deal, TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie first reported and CapFriendly confirmed.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) July 10, 2017
The center scored a career-high 23 points, including a career-high 11 goals, this past season, his third in the NHL. He also averaged a career-best 14:36 in ice time, and finished with the best even strength possession numbers of his career (49.97% 5v5 CF%, -1.50% relCF%, per Puckalytics) despite seeing the lowest percentage of offensive zone starts among Sharks forwards (27.69%, according to Puckaltyics). He spent time centering the third and fourth lines last season, and saw his possession numbers solidly improve when Tomas Hertl’s return to center necessitated Tierney’s placement on the fourth line.
Wherever Tierney lines up next season, his reported contract represents a solid bargain for San Jose. The deal will look even better if he can improve on his scoring numbers from last season and establish himself as a reliable third-line center. If he does, he will likely be due for a fairly significant raise next summer, when Hertl is also set to become a restricted free agent.
Even if he can’t, though, the Sharks will still have plenty of salary cap flexibility. Including wingers Kevin Labanc ($717,500 AAV) and Timo Meier ($894,167 AAV), as well as one of defensemen Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan ($650,000 AAV), San Jose sits $7,147,833 under the salary cap.
Tierney was not eligible for salary arbitration, falling one season short of the four required for a player that signed their entry-level contract as an 18, 19, or 20-year-old, according to Cap Friendly. He signed his first contract with San Jose as a 19-year-old following the conclusion of his third season with the OHL’s London Knights in 2013.
Wingers Barclay Goodrow and Marcus Sorensen are the team’s only remaining unsigned restricted free agents. Goodrow, 24, and Sorensen, 25, were both eligible to, but were not among the 30 restricted free agents that filed for salary arbitration last week.