The San Jose Sharks continued to make news in the days surrounding the nation's Independence Day. The best news was the re-signing of Tommy Wingels reported by CSN Bay Area's Brodie Brazil until 3:00 p.m. PDT Saturday, July 5.
Thus it leads the pictured list of events listed in order of most to least recent. A summary of each exists on the slides, but the impact of all of the Independence Day weekend news on San Jose is worth examining further.
As of this print there has been no financial terms reported on the contract; updates will be provided here as they come in. The initial report had the contract at three years, after which the 26-year old Wingels would be an unrestricted free agent.
He should be paid more per season than he made over both years of his past contract ($1.55 million). He would have had 18 or 19 goals but for some missed calls during the 2013-14 NHL season, and still finished 16 to go with 22 assists in 77 games. He played on both the second and third line, led the team with 218 hits and was third among forwards in blocked shots with 58.
His two-way contribution is one reason Wingels is one of just six Sharks to average over a minute per game on both the power play and penalty kill. Examiner did a two-part profile of him in February partially because he has the toughness and character general manager Doug Wilson wants, including off the ice where he is involved in the You Can Play Project to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation in sports.
Even if he were to make $3 million a season (an overpay given his restricted free agent status), he would be a good sign for this team. Given San Jose's salary cap room and Wilson's stated dedication to turn the team over to younger players, he should get paid.
The news that immediately preceded the Wingels signing was not quite as pleasant but also cannot be fully judged until a final dollar amount is revealed. James O'Brien of Pro Hockey Talk revealed the 20 players that filed for arbitration Saturday, and defenseman Jason Demers was among them.
Most likely, this is simply one step in a negotiation process. It would be highly speculative and unnecessarily anxious to read this as a bad sign.
As the article pointed out, both parties can continue to negotiate and agreement is often reached before the hearings that will take place between July 20 and August 4 this year. If no agreement is reached by then, the two sides submit a figure and arbitration decides which figure is the fair contract.
If the Sharks win, Demers would either have to sign for that figure or play professional hockey elsewhere. After a career season and with an increased role apparent, he is still certain to make more than the $1.5 million he made last season and was tendered for the 2014-15 NHL season to retain his rights.
If Demers wins, San Jose would have until 2:00 p.m. PDT August 6 to decide if they are willing to pay that much. If not, he would become an unrestricted free agent. Many probably remember that the Chicago Blackhawks decided they could not afford to pay goalie Antti Niemi, allowing Wilson to sign him.
On the actual Independence Day, CSN Bay Area reported the roster for the second annual Summer Prospects Scrimmage on Wednesday, July 9. The good news was that Matt Nieto and Tomas Hertl will participate even though they have already arrived. Freddie Hamilton and Eriah Hayes are the only other players to dress in the 2013-14 NHL season at the event, but there are more prospects that could play in the upcoming season.
The last story before Independence Day hardly registered and will have minimal negative affect on the Sharks. Wilson had clearly decided to move on from former blue-line prospect Sena Acolatse when he did not offer a tender to retain his rights, and he signed with the Calgary Flames Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, the reaction from fans to the new Ice Team finally compelled David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News to post their displeasure. This would again equate as a very minor negative.
Unlike some of the concerns expressed on fan boards like SJ Chomp on Facebook, money spent for the Ice Team will not impact player moves. The reason many teams have so-called "Ice Girls" is that marketing shows that employing eye candy increases income. On a scientific level, increasing the testosterone count for often inebriated men leads to more impulse purchases.
It should be noted that San Jose will have an Ice Team that will include male workers fixing the ice during television timeouts. The outfits of female workers will also not be as scanty as those of other teams.
Still, the women were highlighted in promotions about the unit and their outfits are still meant to attract while the men's are utilitarian. Could it be that the backlash in the socially-conscious Bay Area in an atmosphere of frustration from The Choke and (yet) resistance to the idea of rebuilding a team that continues to fail will cost more money than will be gained in impulse buys for fans that are at the rink?
In any event, the period's news was mixed overall. There was more bad than good surrounding Independence Day, but the best news was good and much has yet to be determined.
If it turns out the Sharks got Wingels for anything less than $2.5 million per season (he deserves at least $2 million), the news gets even better. The rating could also be affected by whether the team faces arbitration on Demers, which side wins and whether he stays with them.