Just before the clock the stuck 5:00 on the West Coast signaling the beginning of the weekend, Sharks GM Doug Wilson had a couple of signings to announce to the media. The team re-signed 24-year-old depth forward Benn Ferriero to a 1-year deal worth $605,000. He followed it up with news that he’d also added veteran journeyman Ben Guite who will either add depth to the NHL club or leadership to their AHL affiliate in Worcester. Guite’s contract is a one-year, two-way contract that will pay him $525,000 with San Jose and $105,000 with Worcester (terms per CapGeek.com).
The deal came the same week as news of a two-year contract extension for 25-year-old netminder Thomas Greiss. People may remember Greiss as the goaltender who was penciled in as Antero Niittymaki’s back-up last year before the team acquired Antti Niemi. He was loaned to the Swedish Elite League as there was no room for him on the active roster—but the team still thinks highly enough of the German goaltender to lock him up for a couple more years.
The Sharks have certainly shuffled their line-up around during the offseason. Danny Heatley’s no longer around to eat 18 minutes per night, Martin Havlat will be depended upon to stay healthy for 82 games, Michal Handzus will help with the penalty kill, and Andrew Desjardins will presumably be a full-time NHLer next season. Even after Ferriero’s deal, they still only have 11 forwards under contract for next season (No offense, but we’re assuming Guite will see more time in Worcester than in San Jose). They can still re-sign unrestricted free agent Kyle Wellwood for another tour of duty or find an outsider to fill the void. Regardless, GM Doug Wilson still has a little more work to do before his roster is complete.
The free agent pool is much shallower than it was one week ago, but there are still decent role players available for teams looking to fill out their line-ups. As Chris Johnston of The Canadian Press points out, veterans like John Madden, Mike Grier, and Brendan Morrison are all still available for a team willing to extend an offer. Doug Wilson will have to decide if he wants to re-sign the familiar Wellwood, give a prospect or two a chance in training camp, or if he wants to dip into free agency once again. Whoever is signed, they won’t be expected to win games for San Jose—they’ll just be depended upon to not lose any games Western Conference contender.