Tomas Hertl traded to VGK with bug

Tomas Hertl was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights by the San Jose Sharks on Friday for forward David Edstrom and a first-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft.

Third-round picks in 2025 and the 2027 NHL Draft were also sent to Vegas.

“I've been here 11 years, our kids were born here, we love it here, so it was hard,” Hertl told members of the Czech media Saturday. “On the other hand, there was no playoffs here, the Sharks are in a rebuilding process and Vegas has a team that won it last year and wants to win it again.

“It's not just about one year, it's about other seasons. That's the main reason.”

The Sharks announced Feb. 12 that the 30-year-old center would be out after deciding to have surgery to clean out loose cartilage in his left knee. He has not played since San Jose's 5-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 27.

“I don't know when it's going to be, but I hope it works out before the playoffs,” Hertl said. “Nobody in San Jose was rushing me because of our season. I'm going to do my best to get healthy and on the ice as soon as possible.”

Hertl thanked San Jose and the Sharks in a post on X, saying in part, "This is where I call home. It's the place I made friends, built my career, married my wife, bought a house and became a father to my two boys. I will always be grateful to the people of San Jose and especially the unbelievable Sharks fans for your support and encouragement over these last 11 years. We had a lot of good times together and some truly great runs.

"The memories will stay with me forever."

Sharks coach David Quinn said there were "a lot of mixed emotions. For him personally, I'm excited for him to have a chance to win a Stanley Cup. But sorry to see him go. I've only been here for two years, but he's a great player and a better person. It's going to hurt.

"It's pretty raw for everybody. So it was a pretty quiet room."

Hertl had 34 points (15 goals, 19 assists) in 48 games for the Sharks this season and represented them at 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend in Toronto from Feb. 1-3. He has played all 11 of his NHL seasons for San Jose since he was chosen in the first round (No. 17) of the 2012 NHL Draft and his 484 points (218 goals, 266 assists) in 712 regular-season games are sixth in team history.

"I don't know if there was a better return out there," Sharks general manager Mike Grier said. "There were some feelers put out about [him], and we looked at the term and the money involved. It's not an easy contract, even with the cap going up, so I felt like this was a good time, and I think Tomas himself, thought this was a good opportunity for him.

Hertl has six seasons left on an eight-year contract he signed with San Jose on March 16, 2022. He was the Golden Knights' third addition ahead of the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline after the defending Stanley Cup champions acquired defenseman Noah Hanifin in a three-team trade with the Calgary Flames and Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, and Anthony Mantha from the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

Vegas (34-23-7) ended a four-game skid with a 5-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. It is tied with the Los Angeles Kings for third in the Pacific Division and holds the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

"My comments to Tomas were ‘Tomas, if you play as good with us, as you did against us, we’ll be happy," Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. "He’s been a player that we had a tremendous regard for because he’s in the division. You know him because he’s a person who was a part of what was a tremendous rivalry (between the Golden Knights and Sharks). He’s going to be a really good fit for us.

"We wanted to help our team. Our recent play hasn't been good enough. We know that we'll fix that. When you're a general manager, you're a 35,000-foot view on your organization, not just hockey, but your entire organization. We can't let the fact that we lost the game [Thursday] night (3-1 against the Vancouver Canucks) change anything about what we're doing. It's a lot broader perspective than that. I think the one thing that we do feel strongly about: our players have earned the respect for management to try to help. And I think when you have a room full of champions, it's easy for us to want to prove to the talent and continue to add and try to help and try to put our team in a position to achieve that again. So, that was the thought process of the things that went into bringing us to where we are here today."

The Sharks traded forward Anthony Duclair and a seventh-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday for defenseman Jack Thompson and a third-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. They acquired goalie Vitek Vanecek and a seventh-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft from the New Jersey Devils for goalie Kaapo Kahkonen.

"We knew this was going to happen," Quinn said. "Maybe not to this extent, but we're in a situation where we've been paying a price for winning [for so many years]. It's been a tough go here the last four or five years, and unfortunately, you have to get to this point where you have to make some tough decisions and see some people go."

Edstrom, 19, was chosen by the Golden Knights in the first round (No. 32) of the 2023 NHL Draft. He has 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 42 games this season for Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League, and had three assists in seven games for Sweden at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.

San Jose is 15-40-7 with a .298 points percentage better than only the Chicago Blackhawks (.294).

"Ever since I got here I've tried to be honest, have open and honest conversations about the situations that we are in and how they feel about these situations and if they would like the chance to go somewhere else," Grier said. "Tomas got to a point this year where he wanted a chance to win a Stanley Cup and I got that. He's a good player. He's getting a little bit older and we're still in the phase of kind of rebuilding this thing and we're years away from being that playoff team... I think he came to the conclusion that his time of being productive NHL player didn't match up with the timeline for the team." independent correspondents Chelena Goldman and Paul Delos Santos contributed to this report