The San Jose Sharks have come to terms with one of their recent draft picks. According to CapFriendly, the Sharks are set to sign 2019 sixth-round selection Santeri Hatakka to an entry-level deal that will begin next season. It is believed to be a three-year ELC with an $850K AAV for the young defenseman.
Hatakka, 20, spent this season as a full-time player at the top pro level in his native Finland, playing for the Liiga’s Ilves. In fact, Hatakka is signed through the 2022-23 season with an option for an additional year, but the Sharks wanted to lock down the promising blue liner regardless of how long he plans to spend developing overseas. Hatakka held his own in the Liiga this season, recording seven points and an even rating in 44 games while receiving regular play time for a playoff team. Hatakka also played well against his peers at the World Junior Championship, recording two points in seven games for Team Finland en route to a bronze medal.
The Jokerit product is a well-rounded defender who some felt would be selected higher than he was in his draft year. While the Sharks have some impressive young names on the left side of the blue line already – Mario Ferraro, Nikolai Knyzhov, Brinson Pasichnuk in the pros alone – and long-term commitments to veterans Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Radim Simek, the team clearly sees upside in Hatakka and want to bring him into the organization and see what he can do. It may not be next year or even the year after, despite what the contract may imply, but one day Hatakka will be a factor in the San Jose depth chart.