Tommy Wingels signed a three-year contract to stay with the San Jose Sharks over the holiday weekend. David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News did what most people do when financial terms are not immediately announced—wait for Cap Geek to report it—before writing his article on the signing Tuesday, July 8.
The photo list provides a summary of the five assets that make Wingels worthy of $7.4 million over three years. Examiner.com stated Monday that he was worth over $2 million and any deal under $2.5 million was a good one for the San Jose—this one is $33,333.33 short of the top of that range.
In some ways, paying to the higher end might be better. The Sharks have plenty of cap room and the ninth-wealthiest man in the world at the helm, so cost to keep one's own is not that huge a concern. What is important is putting one's money where one's mouth is.
Wingels brings the very things to the table that have come from the mouth of general manager Doug Wilson as priorities after San Jose's epic collapse in the 2014 Pacific Division semifinals. A focus on mental and physical toughness was even the message to CSN Bay Area Insider Kevin Kurz ahead of the 2014 NHL draft and would have to be the justification for signing John Scott.
Giving Wingels as much as he could get on the open market considering his restricted free agent status is backing words with action. He also possesses three more traits that make him a versatile, valuable commodity for any NHL team—scoring, defensive prowess and worth ethic.
The former center found his home on the second and third line right wing in the 2013-14 NHL season, and was a two-way force. Always known as a good defender, he again led San Jose with 218 hits and was third among forwards in blocked shots with 58.
He also ranked fifth on the team in goals (16), eighth in assists (22) and sixth in points (38 in 77 games) despite spending a good chunk of the 2013-14 NHL season on a checking line. While it was his first season of significant scoring, it was also his first time on a scoring line.
His value in any situation is why he was fourth among forwards in total ice time and one of only six Sharks with over a minute on both the power play and penalty kill. The 2008 sixth-round draft pick has worked his way up the depth chart quickly.
In the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, he played his first 38 NHL games. By the lockout-condensed 2013 season, he was a checking-line regular. Now he is a two-way, scoring-line forward with the skating ability, mentality and youth Wilson knows San Jose needs.
Getting three years of that as a 26-year old player begins reaching the peak of his career for anything less than $2.5 million per season makes signing Wingels the best 2014 off-season roster move by Wilson. Now the Sharks can focus on one of their many other unknowns for the 2014-15 NHL season.