Tomas Hertl continues to draw attention in the rumor mill as the NHL transitions into the pre-season. The 27-year-old San Jose Sharks center is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer but hinted at a willingness to accept a hometown discount.
The Mercury News' Curtis Pashelka reported Hertl cited former Sharks teammate Joe Thornton accepting less money to sign with good teams. “I like that idea,” he said. “You can go somewhere else, sign the maximum, even maybe too much, but you're losing for the next eight years.”
Hertl said he enjoys San Jose but playing for a winner remains among his priorities. Once a league powerhouse, the Sharks missed the playoffs during the last two seasons. Their chances of contending for the Stanley Cup are fading with a lineup containing expensive veterans such as Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns.
Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now reported Sharks general manager Doug Wilson indicated he's had several conversations with Hertl and expects to meet with him again soon. However, that hasn't stopped some clubs from reaching out to Wilson about Hertl's trade status.
A hometown discount for Hertl will eat up a big chunk of the Sharks' cap space for 2022-23. They already have $66.5 million tied up in 14 players next season. With a salary cap projected to rise to $82.5 million, they won't have much left after re-signing Hertl.
Cap Friendly indicates Hertl's current cap hit is $5.625 million. He could get up to $8-million annually on the open market next summer so he probably won't accept anything under $7 million per season to stay in San Jose.