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Labanc signs one-year contract with Sharks

Forward set NHL career highs in goals, assists, points last season, was restricted free agent

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Kevin Labanc signed a one-year contract with the San Jose Sharks on Monday.

Financial terms were not released.

"It was, I think, just the best decision I think for myself and for the team," said the 23-year-old forward, who was a restricted free agent. "I'm just looking forward to the enhanced role and the upcoming season, and I believe my best hockey is ahead of me.

 

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"I definitely see myself taking a bigger role. There's a lot of opportunity up there, and I think last year was a stepping stone for me to kind of prove myself that I can handle that top-six role. I'm looking forward to next season and I'm looking forward to be one of the top players on the team."

Labanc had NHL career highs in goals (17), assists (39) and points (56) in 82 regular-season games with the Sharks last season, and nine points (four goals, five assists) in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

General manager Doug Wilson pointed to Labanc's four-point performance (one goal, three assists) in Game 7 of the Western Conference First Round against the Vegas Golden Knights as reason the Sharks are excited about his future.

"When you see somebody doing something like that under a pressure situation, you know that there's some high-end capabilities to him," Wilson said. "He grew his game last year; he's trying to become a 200-foot player and trusted by our coaches. This is an exciting year for him, and the fact that he believes in himself like he does, and we feel the same way about him. I think he's excited to get going and have a great season this year."

Selected by San Jose in the sixth round (No. 171) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Labanc has 116 points (36 goals, 80 assists) in 214 regular-season games and 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 30 playoff games.

Video: Kevin Labanc discusses re-signing with the Sharks

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