Why Tommy Wingels Fits In Well With the San Jose Sharks' Future Plans

Brad KurtzbergContributor IJuly 10, 2014

The Sharks re-signed Tommy Wingels.
The Sharks re-signed Tommy Wingels.Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The San Jose Sharks re-signed restricted free-agent forward Tommy Wingels to a new three-year contract worth $7.4 million on Monday.

The move makes sense as part of the Sharks' rebuilding program. If you look at the moves general manager Doug Wilson has made so far, they revolve around parting with veterans like Brad Stuart and Martin Havlat while emphasizing more youth, heart and grit.

Wingels adds both grit and versatility. He plays the role of a checking forward, but did manage to score a career-high 16 goals and 38 points last season in 77 games for San Jose. Wingels was a plus-11 for the season.

He also led the Sharks with 218 hits, 73 more than the next closest Shark on the roster.

The Evanston, Illinois, native can play both center and wing. While he fits in best with the bottom-six forwards, Wingels also saw time on the second power-play unit and recorded five assists on the man advantage.

Wingels also is one of the Sharks' best penalty-killers. He tied for the team lead with two short-handed goals and averaged one minute and 16 seconds of ice time per game on the penalty kill.

According to Behind the Net, Wingels was on the ice for 3.07 goals against per 60 short-handed minutes in 2013-14. That ranked second to Andrew Desjardins' 3.06 among regular penalty-killing forwards (at least one short-handed minute of ice time per game) on the team.

Overall, Wingels' nonstop style of play bothered opponents and brought energy to his own team when he was out on the ice.

Wingels adds grit and versatility to the San Jose lineup.
Wingels adds grit and versatility to the San Jose lineup.Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Wilson was pleased to get Wingels locked up.

"He is an important part of our team and a hardworking, physical presence in our lineup," the GM told The Canadian Press. "He competes the way we want our team to play and we're excited to have his leadership, both on and off the ice, in our locker room for three more seasons."

Best of all to San Jose's brass, Wingels is 26 and in his hockey prime. His continued presence is consistent with the team's plan to rely more on younger players and less on older veterans like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

The deal also eliminates two potential years where Wingels would have been eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. According to CapGeek.com, his annual cap hit for the next three seasons is a reasonable $2.475 million.

Wingels is no star, but he's the kind of player every hockey team needs on its roster if it wants to win.

Locking him up for the next three years will help the squad and fits in well with Wilson's attempt to remake the image and style of his hockey club.