The San Jose Sharks acquired forward Tyler Kennedy from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a second round pick in Sunday’s NHL Entry Draft in Newark, NJ.
Kennedy, 26, is a pending restricted free agent. In 46 games with the Penguins last season, the five-foot-11, 183-pounder had six goals and five assists for 11 points and 19 penalty minutes. He just completed a two-year, $4 million contract.
On a conference call with San Jose media after the trade, Kennedy said he had yet to speak with Sharks general manager Doug Wilson. The trade occurred shortly before the start of the annual draft at the Prudential Center, home of the New Jersey Devils.
Kennedy indicated he’d like to ink a deal with the Sharks, though.
“Obviously, I’d love to agree to something with San Jose,” Kennedy said. “They’re a great organization, but I’m not really sure of anything yet. I still have to talk to my agent about stuff like that. Obviously, I’d like to go there and play there for a long time. We’ll see what happens here.”
Kennedy, who could fit in nicely with the Sharks as a third line winger with center Joe Pavelski, spent each of his first six NHL seasons with the Penguins, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2004. He was a member of Pittsburgh’s 2009 Stanley Cup championship squad.
“I think I’m an energy guy, and bring a lot of energy to the ice,” he said. “I think I’ve got a good skill set, and I try to finish my checks when I can.”
The trade wasn’t surprising to Kennedy, who was a healthy scratch in six of the Penguins’ 15 playoff games. He said he had a feeling that he would be on the move after his exit meeting with Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero after the season.
He was perplexed that he wasn’t regularly in the lineup for the Penguins, who were swept by Boston in the Eastern Conference finals. Kennedy played in just two games in that series.
“I’m not really sure. I thought I had a great playoff, and I’m kind of stumped,” said Kennedy, who had two goals and three assists in nine playoff games. “I’m really kind of lost why they didn’t play me more.”
In 372 career NHL games, Kennedy has 76 goals and 92 assists for 168 points and 181 penalty minutes. He has already appeared in 76 playoff games, with 27 points (12g, 15a).
"Tyler is a highly-competitive forward who plays with speed and has a history of scoring big goals," said GM Doug Wilson in a team press release. "He has played in a lot of playoff games over the last past [six] seasons, won a Stanley Cup, and we think he fits in perfectly with our group and how we want to play the game."
Kennedy said: “I think I’m a pretty confident player going into the playoffs. I’ve been there before, I know what it takes to win, and I know what I have to do to try and help the team.”
The Penguins and Sharks didn’t play one another in the lockout-shortened 2013 season, but Kennedy is familiar with San Jose’s club.
“I think it’s a great team. I’ve watched highlights, and they have a lot of good leaders – Joe Thornton, [Patrick] Marleau, guys like that. They’re great players around the league. I’m just going to try and come in, play my game, and do whatever they ask me.”
Adding Kennedy, who will likely command a little more than $2 million annually, means the Sharks may have to move salary in order to retain TJ Galiardi, also a pending RFA. According to CapGeek.com, the Sharks are just $3.57 under the $64.3 million cap with 19 players signed. That does not include rookie Tomas Hertl, who could make the team out of training camp and would earn $1.35 at the NHL level.