The San Jose Sharks have signed forward James Sheppard to a one-year, $1.3 million contract.
The offer was a mere 24 hours after Tommy Wingels received his three-year contract.
General manager Doug Wilson mentioned that having both Wingels and Sheppard in the lineup was essential to the rebuilding movement he has been talking about since the offseason began.
Sheppard “certainly played well down the stretch and in the playoffs,” Wilson said. “This is a very important summer for him to come back and start the beginning of next season right where he left off.”
He added, “James has worked tremendously hard and earned himself a key role on our team last season. His perseverance and dedication make him a valuable asset to our organization going forward.”
Sheppard had four goals, 16 assists and 35 penalty minutes over the course of 67 games played in the 2013-14 campaign. During the first round of the playoffs, prior to falling to the Los Angeles Kings, Sheppard assisted the Sharks offensively with two goals and four assists over the seven games played.
Originally selected ninth overall by the Minnesota Wild in the 2006 NHL Draft, he saw a halt in his career after suffering a knee injury. He has rebounded nicely since then and obviously proven his spot on the Sharks roster. Although not playing in all 82 games last season, Sheppard worked hard and tried to prove to Wilson and coach Todd McLellan that he was a valuable player. He will now have one more year to show he belongs on the team and will be a valuable asset among the younger players about to take the lead.
Sheppard told CSN California that “it was important for me to remain with San Jose because we have all the ingredients for a championship team. Players, coaching, organization and of course the fans. After learning an important lesson last year, I think we are in a position to accomplish what we want, and that is to win.”
Jason Demers remains the only regular player left from last season who has yet to receive a contract offer.