The San Jose Sharks have signed Jasper Weatherby to a two-year entry-level contract. Weatherby has spent the last three seasons at the University of North Dakota but will forego his senior season and turn pro.
That’s actually not what was expected, as Weatherby told his coaching staff earlier this year that he would be returning for his senior season. Instead, he’ll take a chance to compete for an NHL spot on a Sharks roster that is desperately looking for inexpensive contributions. In fact, there may well be a chance for the 6’4″ Weatherby to step right into the NHL as a bottom-six option in San Jose after his strong 2020-21 season. He recorded 14 goals and 24 points in 29 games for North Dakota, while also winning nearly 60% of his faceoffs.
Sharks GM Doug Wilson released a statement on the signing:
Jasper’s performance at our development camp showcased his offensive skill, as well as his ability to utilize his size and strength to consistently win faceoffs. He was a top collegiate player last season and served in a leadership role for North Dakota on and off the ice. The ingredients he brings meshes well with the top young players who are emerging in our system. We would like to thank the North Dakota hockey program for all of their hard work in helping Jasper reach this stage of his career.
Even if he doesn’t land a spot right away, the fourth-round pick is obviously physically mature enough to compete at the AHL level and continue his development on the pro circuit. Now 23, he was limited to a two-year entry-level deal and will be an RFA at its expiry.
The Sharks have a number of players competing for those bottom-six minutes, including a veteran addition in Andrew Cogliano. With so much money tied up in a handful of players, the fringe of the roster is always going to have to be made up of players on their entry-level deals or who have accepted low-cost contracts. One thing that won’t help in his pursuit of a spot is that Weatherby will be waiver-exempt this season.
Kevin Kurz of The Athletic first reported the deal.