The San Jose Sharks have re-upped right-winger Kevin Labanc to a four-year contract worth $18.9 million.
Labanc’s Bet on Himself Has Paid Off Handsomely
Last July, after notching an impressive 17 goals and 39 assists for 56 points in 2018-19, Labanc inexplicably signed a paltry one-year, $1 million deal with the Sharks after the summation of his entry-level contract. That’s far more modest that even the most modest of bridge deals.
It was a risky move for Labanc as it required he prove himself all over again in order to cash in on a longer-term deal. His 2019-20 wasn’t nearly as good from a statistical standpoint — 14 goals and 19 assists for 33 points and a negative-33 plus/minus on a poor Sharks team — but it was enough for him to cash in anyway.
Labanc Will Be Big Part of Sharks Rebuild
Labanc, a natural playmaker with a good work ethic, will be a player the Sharks rely on to return to competitiveness.
A perennial contender throughout the 2010s, the Sharks finished 29-36-5 in 2019-20 and sold off a number of assets for draft picks after Erik Karlsson went down for the season with a broken thumb and it was clear another long playoff run was not in the cards.
“Kevin brings a rare level of offensive skill and creativity to our line-up and has established himself as a top-six forward in our league,” Sharks’ GM Doug Wilson said in a news release. “His Game 7 playoff performance last season is one of the most iconic moments in Sharks history and is a perfect example of the impact he can have on a hockey game.
Originally selected in the sixth-round of 2014 NHL entry draft, the Brooklyn, New York-born Labanc has 50 goals and 149 points in 284 career regular-season games. He has also recorded five goals and 14 assists for 19 points 30 postseason games.
Declan Schroeder is a 26-year-old communications specialist and freelance journalist in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He holds a diploma in Creative Communications with a major in journalism from Red River College and a bachelors in Rhetoric and Communications from the University of Winnipeg.
Deeply rooted in the city’s hockey culture, the original Jets skipped town when he was two and the 2.0 version came onto the scene when he was 17.