San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier told reporters including Curtis Pashelka of Bay Area News Group that the team has signed three more free agents, inking Nico Sturm, Markus Nutivaara, and Matt Benning.
Sturm, 27, has agreed to a three-year deal worth a total of $6MM, giving him a substantial raise over the $750K he made in 2021-22. The Stanley Cup champion can be a valuable bottom-six forward, though his offensive limitations make this kind of contract something of a surprise. In 132 games in the NHL, Sturm has scored 20 goals and 39 points. What he does bring is a big, physical presence that can win faceoffs and contribute at the defensive end of the rink, something that should bring stability to the Sharks as they transition into a rebuild.
Nutivaara, 28, signed for just one year, coming off a 2021-22 season that was almost entirely lost to injury. The left-handed defenseman played just one game for the Florida Panthers and because of that, is eligible for performance bonuses in the upcoming season. PuckPedia reports that his deal will carry a salary of $1.5MM, while also including bonuses for games played up to a maximum of $250K. Once a very promising option for the Columbus Blue Jackets, his recent history has been ruined by injury, with ust 68 games played over the last three seasons.
Benning’s deal is for four years keeping him in San Jose through the 2025-26 season. That’s an impressive get for a player who rarely more than third-pairing minutes, and has moved in and out of the lineup for basically his whole career. Still, the 28-year-old defenseman offers a physical presence and does have more than 350 games of NHL experience under his belt.