Sharks get one key remaining RFA under contract, still have others

SAN JOSE — The Sharks locked up one of their remaining restricted free agents, announcing on Thursday the re-signing of forward Rudolfs Balcers to a two-year contract.

Balcers, 24, had 17 points in 41 games for the Sharks last season after the team claimed off of waivers in January. Balcers, a Sharks draft pick in 2015, had been with the Ottawa Senators for two years after he was part of the blockbuster deal that brought Erik Karlsson to San Jose in 2018.

Balcers was mostly used in a top-nine forward role in 2021 and averaged 14:43 of ice time per game. His deal, according to a source, carries an average annual value of $1.55 million.

“We were excited to bring Rudolfs back to our organization last season and he became an important part of our lineup in what was his first full NHL season,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. “He showed that he is a versatile forward who can provide offense for our club as a Top-9 forward. We are happy to have him.”

The Sharks also announced Thursday a one-year, two-way deal for forward Joachim Blichfeld, also a pending RFA. His deal is worth $750,000 at the NHL level, according to a source.

The Sharks still have other RFA’s, including newly acquired goalie Adin Hill, forwards Noah Gregor and Ryan Donato, and defenseman Christian Jaros.

NHL teams have until Monday to issue qualifying offers to restricted free agents to maintain retain their negotiating rights.

Hill, who was acquired by the Sharks from Arizona last Saturday, stands to receive a significant raise from the $800,000 deal he had with the Coyotes this past season. For Donato, the Sharks would have to issue a $2.15 million qualifying offer to him to retain his rights.

As of now, per CapFriendly, the Sharks have just under $7 million in space under the $81.5 million salary cap limit.

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Author: Curtis Pashelka

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