Who will be between the pipes for the San Jose Sharks come opening night next season remains very much unknown; first, however, the Sharks must lock up Alex Stalock, one of the candidates for the starting job.
According to Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area, they are in the process of doing just that. Kurz reports that “talks are underway” between Stalock and the Sharks toward a new contract. Stalock will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Stalock had a stellar season as the Sharks’ backup goaltender last season, going 12-5 in 18 starts and recording a 1.87 GAA. During the playoffs, he went 0-1 with a 2.05 GAA in three games, making one start.
The big question heading into training camp next season will be whether he should supplant Antti Niemi for the starting job. Niemi, who has been the Sharks’ No. 1 guy for the past four seasons, struggled last year, especially during the playoffs. He was pulled twice, and was benched for Game 6 agains the Kings in favor of Stalock.
Goaltending-wise, Stalock plays well considering his small stature (6′ 0″, 190 lbs.), which forces him to be ultra-aggresive and come out to challenge shots. He is above average at handling the puck, preferring to dump it off to a player after making a save than cover it up for a face-off. He also is a fan of making the outlet pass himself, especially on the power play.
According to CapGeek, Stalock made $625,000 last year with the Sharks. Expect that number to be much higher if and when he re-signs, given that he is now a bona fide NHL goaltender.