Aug 31: The Sharks have made the deal official, announcing a two-year contract for Kellman. GM Doug Wilson released a short statement:
Joel has proven himself at the NHL level with his intelligence and responsibility on both ends of the ice. He took a big step last year in his development and growth as a player inside our organization and made an immediate impact after his promotion from the San Jose Barracuda.
Aug 28: The Sharks have agreed to terms with center Joel Kellman on a two-year contract, reports Kevin Kurz of The Athletic (Twitter link). Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now reports that the deal carries an AAV of $750K and breaks down as follows:
2020-21: $700K NHL salary, $300K AHL salary
2021-22: $800K NHL salary, one-way deal
Those terms means that he’s signing for less than his required qualifying offer which would have checked in at just under $875K. However, he gets some extra security for his trouble with a reasonable guaranteed salary in the first season before converting to the one-way deal. Kellman will be eligible for unrestricted free agency when the contract expires.
The 26-year-old played his first season in North America in 2019-20 after signing with San Jose as an undrafted free agent out of Brynas of the SHL in April of 2019. He spent most of the first half in the minors with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda where he posted decent numbers offensively with 16 points (4-12-16) in 25 games.
Things didn’t go as well with the Sharks, however. While Kellman got into 31 games and logged over 11 minutes per night, he was only able to muster up three goals and four assists along the way and that production helped keep the price tag on this new deal low.
Kellman will be eligible for waivers next season and if they’re worried about trying to send him down, the two-way portion of his salary for 2020-21 may not even come into play. At the very least, it appears that San Jose believes he can be a useful player in their bottom six for the next couple of years. He logged just shy of a minute per game shorthanded with the Sharks this season and if he can show himself to be capable of taking on a bigger role in that area, it would go a long way towards securing a regular spot in their lineup.