Stuart to sign in San Jose, free agent defenseman list gets thinner

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TSN’s Darren Dreger is on point today.

Shortly after reporting Jaromir Jagr would test free agency on July 1, Dreger broke news that San Jose inked impending UFA defenseman Brad Stuart to a three-year deal.

Last week, the Sharks acquired Stuart’s negotiating rights from the Detroit Red Wings.

There’s not much surprise that Stuart signed in San Jose. Upon being traded, he told the Mercury News he hoped San Jose was “my final [NHL] destination,” saying he was tired of the cross-country shuttling between Detroit and the Bay Area, where his wife and kids resided over the last three years.

The only minor surprise is that Stuart didn’t even test free agency in what promises to be a down year for defensemen. Barret Jackman, Matt Hunwick, Johnny Oduya, Jamie McBain and Alexander Sulzer have also done the same recently, leaving a very thin pool for teams to draw from (the top four UFA blueliners at this point could be Ryan Suter, Dennis Wideman, Jason Garrison and Matt Carle.)

Note: Still no word on what type of money the Sharks shelled out for Stuart over the three years. His last deal was a four-year, $15 million contract, signed with Detroit after winning the Stanley Cup in 2008.