Editor's note: This article is part of an ongoing series in which Sharks insider Kevin Kurz will highlight a different Sharks player leading up to the start of training camp.
Name/Position: Tommy Wingels, F
Salary cap hit: $2.475 million, pending RFA
2015-16 year in review: In 68 games, forward Tommy Wingels finished with seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points and 63 penalty minutes. It was a steep decline from his previous two seasons, when he finished with 38 points and 36 points, respectively. While Wingels’ role was reduced a bit under new coach Pete DeBoer, the Illinois native went through long stretches of just not being very effective, resulting in his getting either benched or scratched from the lineup altogether. In the playoffs, Wingels managed two points (2g) in 22 games.
On a more positive note, Wingels’ physical style of play was still evident, as the forward finished with a team-high 203 hits. He also drew 1.94 penalties per 60 minutes, seventh among NHL forwards that played at least 60 games.
2016-17 outlook: Wingels already had a hard time staying in the lineup last season, and it will be even more difficult now with Mikkel Boedker added to the mix and young players like Timo Meier knocking on the door. If Meier or any other rookie makes the team out of camp, which seems like a pretty strong possibility at this point, the Sharks will probably have to either trade or waive someone that was a part of the team last season, and Wingels would figure to be the likeliest choice.
Wingels could still be an effective player in a fourth line role, though. He’s a pain in the rear to play against, as evidenced by his knack for drawing penalties over the course of his career. He’s a model teammate, too, and someone that would do anything for the guy lined up next to him. If his place isn’t in San Jose, general manager Doug Wilson should be able to find him another home, even if his $2.6 million salary for this season is a bit inflated.
Expect Wingels to come to camp ready to compete, knowing that his job is on the line.