The depth center may be exposed in the Seattle expansion.
The San Jose Sharks have re-signed depth forward Dylan Gambrell to a one-year contract. Per CapFriendly, the deal is worth $1.1 million.
On its face, it may seem like a bit of an overpay for a depth forward, especially with his contract history and performance. He signed and entry-level contract with the Sharks in 2018 for two years at $925,000, with $425,000 in potential performance bonuses. He re-signed for another two years in 2019, this time at $700,000, with no additional bonuses. The other major difference between these contracts is that his minors salary grew from $70,000 to $100,000 in 2019-20 and $700,000 in 2020-21. As of last season, the 24-year-old is no longer waivers exempt.
The analysts at Evolving-Hockey do contract projections every off-season, based on previous contracts across the league and player performance, and Gambrell’s contract is actually not too far off. They projected a two-year term with a $1.153 million average annual value.
Gambrell played his first “full” season with the Sharks in 2021, appearing in 49 games and notching five goals and seven assists, for a career-high 12 points. He previously saw success with the University of Denver, where he was over a point-per-game player over three seasons, and at the AHL level with the San Jose Barracuda, where he was nine points shy of putting up a point per game. He was also a nominee for the Hobey Baker Award in 2018, the award for the NCAA’s most valuable player (Chicago Blackhawks forward Adam Gaudette won the award that season with Northeastern University).
“Dylan appeared in his first full-time role last season with us and showed he is a reliable player,” said Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, in a release. “He played in a lot of different situations and utilized his speed to be an effective player.”
JFreshHockey, an analyst at Elite Prospects Rinkside, describes Gambrell a little differently:
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 15, 2021
Whether it’s an overpay or not, this move allows the Sharks to expose Gambrell in the Seattle Expansion Draft to meet the requirements for exposed forwards, should they elect to protect either Kevin Labanc or Matt Nieto. Those three, plus Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl all meet the exposure requirements and the Sharks must expose at least two forwards who are under contract in 2021-22, have played in at least 27 NHL games the previous season, or 54 NHL games over the previous two seasons.
Gambrell will face restricted free agency again next summer.