As expected, it was a relatively quiet first few hours of NHL free agent availability for the San Jose Sharks.
The club did make a pair of moves, trading rugged but slowing 34-year-old defenseman Brad Stuart to the Colorado Avalanche for two draft picks, and signing prospect defenseman Taylor Fedun to a one-year deal.
On a conference call Tuesday, Doug Wilson again reiterated his vision of turning the team over to its established younger core and prospects.
“There will be a time and place for us to be active in the free agency market, but it’s certainly not now when we’ve committed to our younger players,” Wilson said.
“The emotion of unrestricted free agency always happens. … Contracts are signed that, certainly those contracts have – I don’t want to say repercussions – some teams look back and wonder why they did it. In our case, our plan has been very consistent.”
Regarding Stuart, Wilson said he worked with the veteran blueliner on finding a new home. Stuart’s preference was to go to a contending team where he will have a chance to play, which might not have been the case in San Jose, as it tries to work players like Matt Tennyson, Taylor Doherty and Micro Mueller into the fold.
“It’s their time to play, or have the opportunities,” Wilson said of his prospect defensemen.
As for Fedun, the 26-year-old defenseman was a restricted free agent with Edmonton that was not qualified, freeing him up to sign where he pleased. He’ll likely start the season with the Sharks’ AHL affiliate in Worcester.
Fedun missed an entire season after he shattered his right leg in his first NHL training camp 2011, according to the Edmonton Journal. The Princeton graduate spent the majority of the last two seasons in AHL Oklahoma City, and had 38 points (10g, 28a) in 65 games last season. He tallied two goals in his first four career NHL games with Edmonton.
“Good player. Had an injury a couple years ago. Very competitive,” Wilson said. “Young player with upside.”
That was the only player the Sharks added in the first few hours of free agency, which saw dozens of players inked to new deals across the league.
As he's said for weeks, Wilson won't deviate from his long-term vision. From his perspective, it makes no sense to bring in a player that would take the roster spot of a current younger Sharks player.
“Every team has to go through this phase. Every team has gone through this phase, and we’re going through it right now,” he said.