Tomas Hertl signed a four-year, $22.5 million contract with the San Jose Sharks last Monday. San Jose keeps one of their core players in place. What does this all mean? What impact may it have down the road? Let’s take a look.
Tomas Hertl contract explained
“Tomas took a big step forward last season, both on and off the ice, and we feel that he is just starting to hit his prime,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. “He has the ability to be a dominant player in this league and proved during the playoffs that he can take over any given game with his combination of skill and strength.”
The salary cap hit comes in at $5.635 million AAV for the deal. However, the salary is just a bit different. Couture earns $6 million in year one. After that, he earns $6,250,000 in year two. The third season pays Hertl $4,750,000 with the final campaign earning him an additional $5,500,000. This includes a signing bonus of $8 million shelled out evenly over the four seasons.
Now, there are some wrinkles with this deal. The extension features a modified no-trade clause in years three and four. Hertl submits a three teams trade list. Simply, this deal buys some unrestricted free agency time.
The extension and down that long and winding road
Hertl is currently 24-years old. When the contract ends, Hertl will be almost 29 (still in his prime). The question becomes what happens to San Jose during this new deal.
Doug Wilson emphasized a win-now approach, but there is some wiggle room to the window. How Wilson negotiates or tries to extend this window will be vital.
How much does Hertl capitalize from last season? It was clear that Hertl played a different way in the playoffs. That is the center San Jose needs to see. It was much more than the nine points in ten games. His presence impacted other players. They took notice.
Hertl’s ice time jumped late in the season with more power play time and exposure to the top line. If that continues, expect another jump in points to a new career high for the Czech forward.
Some numbers and notes
Among other things, we can use visuals from Bill Comeau here to help. Hertl rises to one of the best at shot for and individual expected goals for (93rd and 92nd percentile). His game score suffered along with possession metrics because of increased defensive zone deployment. There are a lot of good numbers here. Hertl plays at a pace where there is room to grow (46 points in 2017-18). The question becomes just how much.
Hertl is a player capable of playing tough minutes still. Fortunately, Hertl shows the ability to handle the center and power play position. Expect him to play nearly 19 minutes ATOI. With more chances, that should aid Hertl’s point progression in the coming years. The only primary concerns are injuries and surrounding talent. Those are minimal, however.
Hertl’s goals above replacement is interesting. The overall number approaches the 80th percentile and is rising. That presents a great number as the forward comes closer to his prime years of production. Yes, linemates will be vital but the pivot’s ability to create will only improve which again should bring up those numbers as well.
Hertl’s ability to make quicker decisions and fast release are not in question here. He can play wing or center which helps as far as power play versatility. This is a player that nearly won 600 faceoffs. Furthermore, there exists 30+ goal potential in the center. It sounds crazy but possible. As far as assists and overall point totals, Hertl could eclipse 60 points in year one or even year two of this deal. Can Tomas Hertl parlay his playoff run into a whole year of production? The numbers say yes.