Sharks sign William Eklund to entry-level contract

The 18-year-old is gunning for a roster spot.

The San Jose Sharks filled their final open contract slot, signing their seventh-overall selection in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft to a three-year entry-level contract. The contract was rumored as early as Saturday, but was confirmed this afternoon. The deadline for players under contract in Europe for the 2021-22 season to sign with an NHL team without needing to be released by their international federation was August 15.

William Eklund is currently in San Jose for the team’s development camp, but whether he makes his debut in teal this season is still a question for the 18-year-old. Getting a contract signed is ultimately a necessary step to opening the door.

His ELC also includes a European Assignment Clause, allowing him to return to Djurgårdens in Sweden’s top men’s league if he’s not quite ready for NHL time. As Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now has reported, Eklund is willing to play for the San Jose Barracuda on temporary assignment, with the assumption that he’d see some NHL time over the course of the season. But if he’s not deemed at least a fringe NHL player in 2021-22, the plan is presumably to return to Sweden.

If Eklund does not play in at least 10 NHL games (regular season and playoffs) this season, his contract will slide to next year, and his cap hit would remove the $92,500 signing bonus for this year.

Per CapFriendly, the contract carries a cap hit of $925,000, with an average annual value of $1.775 million including an $850,000 performance bonus. Eklund’s minors salary is $80,000.