The San Jose Sharks have landed a very interesting goaltender, inking Strauss Mann to a one-year contract. Mann recently became an unrestricted free agent when he left Skelleftea AIK of the SHL. No details on the contract were released. Shin Larsson, Sharks’ supervisor of European scouting, released a statement on his newest find:
Strauss is a quick athletic goalie with history of leadership and success exemplified by being named the first goalie Captain at University of Michigan in 78 years. He followed his successful collegiate career with a strong season for Skelleftea in the SHL and represented Team USA at the most recent Olympics. We look forward to adding a quality goaltender and person to our organization.
Mann, 23, posted a .914 save percentage in the SHL this season, appearing in 22 games for Skelleftea after leaving Michigan. He also managed to suit up for the U.S. at the Olympics, and now enters the North American professional ranks as a legitimate NHL prospect. Undrafted out of the USHL, Mann developed into a dominating presence for the Wolverines, posting a .926 save percentage over 77 starts and earning the captain’s “C” in his junior year.
While he doesn’t fit the prototypical NHL goaltending frame, standing just 6’0″, Mann’s excellent quickness and ability to read the play have resulted in strong results everywhere he has been so far. In fact, before signing in the SHL, he was ranked third by Corey Pronman of The Athletic among undrafted free agent players from college and Europe, with the scribe noting he projects as a No. 2 or 3 option for an NHL club. If that’s what the Sharks have landed with nothing more than an entry-level contract, it will be a big win for the organization.
Of course, in San Jose there is certainly no shortage of NHL options for next season. James Reimer and Adin Hill are both under contract through 2021-22 at more than $2.1MM each, and Kaapo Kahkonen was acquired at the trade deadline as a potential future starter. The hope, it seems, is that Mann will be able to fill one of those higher roles when Reimer and Hill both become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2023–when the former will be 35 years old.