The San Jose Sharks announced today that the team has re-signed defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov to a one-year contract. PuckPedia reports the deal is one-way in nature, with a cap hit of $850,000 ($750,000 salary, $100,000 signing bonus).
Knyzhov, 24, was a pending restricted free agent. If his name doesn’t sound familiar, it would be because Knyzhov has been out of the lineup for the entire 2021-22 season with a lower-body injury sustained during training camp. However, this contract suggests that the team expects him to make a recovery for next year.
Knyzhov broke into the league as a regular in 2020-21, playing in all of the team’s 56 games that year, oftentimes finding a role in the team’s top-four alongside Erik Karlsson. He recorded two goals and eight assists for 10 points and finished the year with a -9 rating. He played his first 3 NHL games the season prior, earning a call-up from the AHL’s Barracuda in his first North American professional season.
The undrafted defenseman was in the final season of his three-year entry-level deal that carried a cap hit of $796,667. He’ll likely return next season to fill out the team’s left defense, forming a group with Mario Ferraro and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.