In this edition of San Jose Sharks News & Rumors, David Quinn has officially been named the franchise’s new head coach, replacing Bob Boughner, who had held the role since 2020. Meanwhile, general manager Mike Grier elected to sign forward Steven Lorentz to a two-year deal this past week. In other news, William Eklund has decided to skip the upcoming World Junior Championships. Last but not least, questions continue to surround Radim Simek on whether or not he will be a part of the Sharks for the 2022-23 season.
Quinn Hired as Sharks Head Coach
While it had been heavily speculated for a number of days, the Sharks held a press conference on Tuesday to officially announce the hiring of Quinn as their new head coach. The 55-year-old took the 2021-22 season off but had previously served as the head coach of the New York Rangers from 2018-2021. Prior to his stint with the Rangers, he spent five seasons as the head coach for Boston University.
During his time with the Rangers, Quinn had been criticized for his player deployment by the fanbase, whether a fair criticism or not. It is worth mentioning that in his first season departed, Gerard Gallant led them to a very impressive 52-24-6 record. But despite this, Quinn received interest from plenty of teams this season, including the Boston Bruins. Perhaps a second opportunity will prove to be what he needs to translate his coaching success at the collegiate level to the NHL.
Sharks Sign Lorentz
This past Friday, the Sharks announced that they had signed Lorentz to a two-year, $2.1 million deal that will carry an average annual value of $1.05 million. The 26-year-old is very much a depth signing but will likely earn himself a spot in the team’s bottom-six, something he was able to do over the past two seasons as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Appearing in a career-high 67 games this past season, Lorentz recorded eight goals and 13 points. He additionally suited up for five postseason games but was held pointless. The 2015 seventh-round draft pick has appeared in 112 career NHL games, registering 10 goals and 21 points. While those offensive totals don’t seem very impressive, it is worth noting he was able to produce in the American Hockey League just three seasons ago, so perhaps a bigger role could see him grow in that regard.
Eklund Skipping World Juniors
Less than a month after confirming he would be suiting up for Team Sweden at the World Juniors this August, Eklund has changed his mind and will instead look to prepare for the upcoming 2022-23 season. The 20-year-old had suited up for three games at the event in December, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it had been pushed back.
“I made the decision after a meeting with the Sharks,” Eklund explained. “I feel that I need time to prepare in the best way possible before training camp in September. My goal is to take a spot in the NHL. The World Juniors are not at an ideal time and this decision is best for my development. It’s a very tough and difficult decision to make. It sucks.”
While it may seem to many that the Sharks as an organization played a role in this decision, Eklund’s agent confirmed that the player himself chose to do this on his own. It has to be extremely disappointing to Team Sweden, but credit to him for making the difficult decision that he believes will best help out his hockey career.
Simek’s Future With Sharks Remains a Question Mark
When the 2021-22 season first came to a close, Simek voiced his displeasure with both Sharks coaching staff and management, claiming both lied to him as to why his playing time decreased throughout the year. The hope was that with a new general manager in Grier, along with Quinn as the new head coach, Simek’s perspective may have changed in regards to the organization, but that may not be the case.
“Radim is excited about heading back to the US sometime in August and looking forward to the 2022-23 season,” Simek’s agent texted to San Jose Hockey Now.
Interestingly enough, as Sheng Peng pointed out, Simek’s agent made no mention of the Sharks in his brief text message. This simply could have been some minor miscommunication, or perhaps a hint that the 29-year-old defenceman could soon be on the move. If the Sharks do look to move him, they shouldn’t have a major problem finding a trading partner, given that he has just two years remaining on an inexpensive deal that carries a cap hit of $2.25 million.
Looking Ahead for the Sharks
With their head coaching position filled, one would think that there won’t be much Sharks news throughout the remainder of the summer. That isn’t entirely the case, however, as there is still a decision to be made on Evander Kane and his previously terminated contract. A decision should be made on that in the near future, though an exact date remains unknown to this point.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.