The San Jose Sharks locked up their second restricted free agent of the day on Monday evening, agreeing to terms with goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen on a two-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $2.75 million.
The details of the deal, which now ties Kahkonen to San Jose through the 2023-24 season, such as its salary structure or the inclusion of any trade protection have yet to be released.
Kahkonen could very well end up as the Sharks' starter next season depending on how the depth chart materializes after training camp.
Arriving in San Jose at the trade deadline last year, Kahkonen performed exceedingly well for the Sharks down the final stretch of a lost season, posting a 2-6-1 record and a .916 save percentage in 11 appearances. Prior to being dealt, Kahkonen had been pulling his weight in Minnesota as well, leaving the Wild with a 12-8-3 record and a .910 save percentage in 25 games.
Now locked into one team for the foreseeable future, the 25-year-old has the potential to play a big part in the Sharks' fortunes moving forward. Kahkonen has quite the track record outside the NHL, too, emerging as one of the AHL's top goaltenders prior to his jump to the big leagues and even taking home the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the league's top goaltender in 2019-20.
On a Sharks team that has struggled to find consistent goaltending for years, Kahkonen offers them an intriguing young option at an affordable price who, if given the requisite reinforcements, could emerge as a consistent big-league netminder sooner rather than later.