Today, the San Jose Sharks announced the re-signing of all of their remaining RFAs to contracts, including forwards Dylan Gambrell, Antti Suomela, and Maxim Letunov along with defensemen Nick DeSimone and Kyle Wood. I expect the next announced signing to be Joe Thornton while former Shark Patrick Marleau remains an option. With these RFAs signed, the Sharks currently have $4,682,583 left in cap space, per CapFriendly which should easily be enough to sign one, if not both.
“Dylan had success at the AHL level with the Barracuda this past season, helping to lead the league’s youngest team to another Calder Cup Playoff berth,” said Sharks General Manager, Doug Wilson. “He has continued to show us growth in all areas of his game, and, with his goal in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, has proven he can handle the pressure of the NHL. We look forward to his continued development, and the impact he will have on the Sharks.”
A 2018 Hobey Baker nominee, Gambrell, 22, played most of the 2018-19 season with the Sharks’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda registering 20 goals, 25 assists, 147 shots and a plus-seven rating in 51 games. He was second on the team in goals and shots, fourth in points (45), and fifth in assists. In four Calder Cup Playoff games with the Barracuda, Gambrell was tied-for-first with four points and three assists. Gambrell played eight games with the Sharks in 2018-19, registering a plus-one rating. He scored one goal, his first career NHL goal, in two 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff games, becoming just the second player (Marcel Goc in 2004) in Sharks franchise history to score his first NHL goal in the playoffs. Gambrell made his NHL debut on April 3, 2018 versus Dallas.
The six-foot, 195-pound native of Bonny Lake, Washington, was drafted by San Jose in the second round (60th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft. No word on if Gambrell will return to the number 14 after switching to number 7 when Gustav Nyquist was acquired last season. The cap hit for Gambrell’s new two-year contract is $700K AAV. The new deal is a 2-way contract in the first year and a 1-way in the second year meaning the forward would need to clear waivers to be sent down to the Barracuda.
“Antti will be looking to build off of his first year in North America and we are excited to see where he takes his game this coming season,” said Wilson. “He has shown that he can adjust his game to the smaller rink and we are looking forward to him competing for a spot on our NHL roster this season.”
Suomela, 25, recorded three goals, five assists, four penalty minutes, 42 shots on goal and a plus-one rating in 27 NHL games with the Sharks in 2018-19. Despite splitting time between the NHL and American Hockey League (AHL), the first-year player ranked second among all Sharks rookies in points and assists and led Sharks freshmen in goals and shots on goal. Suomela registered 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) and 89 shots on goal in 47 games his first season with the AHL’s Barracuda, the Sharks’ top minor league affiliate, and added an assist in two Calder Cup Playoff games.
The six-foot, 180-pound native of Espoo, Finland, has represented his native Finland on several occasions, including the 2018 World Championships and the Euro Hockey Tour (2017 and 2018). He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by San Jose on June 6, 2018. Suomela’s 1 year, 2-way deal has a cap hit of $700K AAV.
Letunov, 23, was a 2nd round draft pick of the St Louis Blues in the 2014 NHL draft. The left-shooting center played 57 games for the Barracuda last season, posting 12 goals, 16 assists and 20 penalty minutes.
DeSimone, 24, has played 128 games with the San Jose Barracuda. The right-shooting defenseman posted 21 goals and 46 assists with 39 penalty minutes during his previous 3 seasons with Barracuda. Last season, DeSimone potted 14 goals, 32 helpers, and 30 penalty minutes.
Drafted by the Avalanche in the 3rd round of the 2014 NHL draft, 23-year-old Wood played 68 games last season with the San Jose Barracuda. The right-shooting defenseman posted 6 goals, 29 assists, and 47 penalty minutes while posting a +16 with AHL affiliate.