The San Jose Sharks have added a little toughness to the organization, signing Kurtis Gabriel to a one-year contract. PuckPedia reports the deal is a two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level and $175K in the minor leagues. Gabriel spent last season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and was an unrestricted free agent. Sharks GM Doug Wilson released a short statement on the signing:
Kurtis provides valuable depth to the organization, having experience at both the NHL and AHL level. He is a great teammate who brings an extremely competitive, hard working attitude on the ice. We are happy to have him join our organization.
Gabriel, 27, was a third-round pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2013, but he certainly wasn’t drafted for his offensive upside. The 6’3″ 220-lbs winger has 11 fights in his 38 career NHL games and 51 in a much longer AHL career. Over that same period, he has scored five points in the NHL and 63 in the minors.
In San Jose, he’ll most likely be headed to the Barracuda, his fourth AHL team since 2018. He suited up 53 times for the Phantoms this season, scoring nine points and registering 92 penalty minutes.
Importantly, Gabriel’s contract becomes the 48th on the books for the Sharks, just two under the limit of 50. That doesn’t leave them much flexibility to sign other players, including restricted free agents Jonathan Dahlen and Tony Sund. Both players are signed overseas for this year, but the Sharks do still retain their rights and could potentially sign them after their European seasons are complete. While it’s not an immediate issue, it is something to keep an eye on with regards to San Jose.