NHL Salaries

2021 NHL free agency: San Jose Sharks re-sign Balcers, Blichfeld


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With the expansion draft behind us, San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson ticked off two players due to new contracts earlier today, re-signing forwards Rudolfs Balcers and Joachim Blichfeld.

Balcers, a 24-year-old winger, signed a two-year contract with an annual cap of $ 1.55 million. In real dollars, the contract is lagged slightly, up to $ 1.25 million this year and $ 1.85 million for the 2022-2023 season, per CapFriendly. He will be a restricted free agent in 2023.

The Sharks drafted Balcers in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Draft (142 overall) in Norway’s top men’s league, where he scored 8 goals and 13 assists in 31 games as a teenage rookie and youngest player in Norway. the team. In 2016, the Latvian native was ready to come to North America, joining the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Hockey League. He missed the tie for first on the team in points by a single point, and in one game less in his first and only season in the WHL. Balcers placed first on the team in goals (40), third in assists (37) and tied for first by +/- with a +26, taking just 16 penalty minutes. His 40 goals rank him 11th in the entire WHL, one of only two non-Canadian skaters among the top 15 scorers.

Fit to become an end-of-round gem, Balcers quickly became a top prospect, which made him a valuable piece when the Sharks chased defenseman Erik Karlsson. Balcers was part of the package traded to the Ottawa Senators for their captain in 2018.

But as fate willed it, in a year of taxi squads resulting in questionable waiver decisions, Balcers found his way back to San Jose when he was placed on waiver after training camp. of the Senators. He played 41 games with the Sharks last season, scoring 8 goals and 9 assists. In three years at the AHL level, between the San Jose Barracudas and the Belleville Senators, he totaled 56 goals and 59 assists, for 112 points in 143 games and 30 penalty minutes.

“We were delighted to bring Rudolfs back to our organization last season and he became an important part of our roster in his first full season in the NHL,” Wilson said in a statement. “He has shown that he is a versatile forward who can provide an attack for our club as a Top-9 forward. We are happy to have it. “

Another former WHL winger, Joachim Blichfeld, signed a one-year contract worth $ 750,000, with guaranteed pay of $ 125,000 and juvenile pay of $ 80,000, through CapFriendly. The 23-year-old will be a restricted free agent next summer.

The Danish native played in the top Swedish junior league before being selected by the Sharks in the seventh round (210 overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft. He joined the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL the following season and in three seasons he averaged well over a point per game, with 105 goals and 123 assists in 187 games.

In 2019, he won the WHL’s Bobby Clarke Trophy dominating the league with 114 points in 68 games. Blichfeld was also named to the Western Conference First Team All-Star and won the Four Broncos Trophy as the league’s player of the year. The following season, he joined the San Jose Barracuda and represented the team at the 2020 AHL All-Star Game.

“Joachim was one of the best players in the American Hockey League last season, leading the Barracuda in goals and points,” Wilson said. “He’s shown over the course of his career that he’s a goalscorer at every level, and with the experience he’s gained in a short time at the NHL level, we think he’s ready to compete for a place in our training next time. season.”

Blichfeld remains eligible for waivers until next season, having eight career NHL games to his name.

Other Sharks players not under contract in 2021-2022 are as follows:

Forward: Patrick Marleau (UFA), Kurtis Gabriel (UFA), Ryan Donato (RFA), Noah Gregor (10.2c), Marcus Sorensen (UFA), Max Letunov (UFA G6)

Defenders: Christian Jaros (RFA), Greg Pateryn (UFA)

Goalkeepers: Adin Hill (RFA)

Per CapFriendly, the Sharks have about $ 6.975 million left in cap space, with 44 of 50 contracts. Free Agency starts Wednesday July 28.

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