San Jose Sharks sign Paul Martin for four years, $19.4 million

What rebuild? The San Jose Sharks’ signing of Paul Martin says they still want to win now.

Don’t be so sure the San Jose Sharks are set on a rebuild. Earlier this week they acquired goaltender Martin Jones from the Boston Bruins and signed him to an extension to be their starter. Wednesday, they kicked off free agency by signing veteran defenseman Paul Martin to a four-year, $19.4-million contract paying him $4.85 million annually.

is the glass half empty or half full with Martin? He’s a steady top-four defenseman who moves the puck efficiently and is a reasonable defensive player as well, albeit more via positioning than brute force. He’s capable of holding his own beside an elite partner, as he did with Kris Letang in Pittsburgh, so he could easily slide in beside another right-handed shot such as Brent Burns in San Jose. Martin, though, has also never topped five goals or 37 points in a season and he’s missed nine, 14, 43 and eight games over his past four campaigns. He’s 34 years old, and his offense actually declined over the course of his five-year deal with the high-octane Penguins of all teams.

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Still, the Sharks’ blueline looks more like a strength than a weakness for 2015-16, with Burns, Martin, the freshly re-signed Brenden Dillon, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the promising Mirco Mueller and Justin Braun leading the way.