Defenseman Tim Heed is an impending unrestricted free agent that has received little media attention so far, and it sounds like he won’t be getting much more outside of his current market. The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports that Heed is expected to re-sign with the San Jose Sharks rather than test the market. Initially looking like the odd man out on San Jose’s blue line, the team has since traded Justin Braun and opted not to extend a qualifying offer to Joakim Ryan, opening up space for Heed’s return. The Sharks already have $66.7MM committed to just 15 players next season, with new contracts in store for RFA’s Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc, and Dylan Gambrell and decisions to make on UFA’s Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, and more. Heed would be an affordable addition who is already familiar with the team and can act as a capable bottom-pair defender. Kurz points out that the right-shot Heed would be an ideal replacement in old spot. After playing in a career-high 37 games last year, Heed has likely earned the trust of the San Jose staff to at least begin the year as a starter while a number of promising blue line prospects continue to develop.
- The Arizona Coyotes have announced several changes to their front office, the most notable of which is poaching Scott Walker from the division rival Vancouver Canucks. Walker, a former OHL coach, spent the past four years as the Canucks’ Director of Player Development, but has now been hired by Arizona as Special Assistant to the General Manager. Internally, three other executives have been promoted: Jake Goldberg has been named Assistant to the General Manager; Phil McRae has been named the Director of North American Amateur Scouting; and Bryan Stewart has been named the Coyotes’ Director of Pro Scouting.
- The ’Yotes’ AHL affiliate, the Tuscon Roadrunners, have re-signed forward Matteo Gennaro to a one-year contract. Gennaro, a former Winnipeg Jets prospect, just wrapped up his first pro season with Tuscon. The 22-year-old center was a force in his junior days in the WHL, but got off to a slow start to the next stage of his career with just 12 points in 58 games. However, Gennaro has always been considered a raw prospect and should continue to grow and round out at the pro level. The Roadrunners hope Gennaro can get closer to the 80-point seasons he put up at the end of his junior career, but they’ll settle for steady improvement in his sophomore season.