After extending the contract of blueliner Kyle McLaren and re-signing winger Niko Dimitrakos on Friday, Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson took another step to ensuring a complete roster for training camp.
The Sharks elected to take forward Alex Korolyuk to arbitration. Korolyuk, a 19-goal scorer who played alongside center Alyn McCauley and Nils Ekman in the Sharks 2003-04 run to the Western Conference Finals, is the only Sharks player who will go through the arbitration process, which binds both sides financially for the NHL season.
Under the previous CBA, only the players had the right to mandate the arbitration process. Now both sides have the option. San Jose may still negotiate with Korolyuk and his agent, former Sharks player Brian Lawton, until the arbitration hearing is held.
It is possible for Korolyuk to sign with a European club, however, should he later decide to return to the NHL, the Sharks would still own his rights under the terms settled by the arbitrator.
"We would like for Alex to be back," said Wilson. "He had a good year. We talked to his agent and he just needs to clarify if his decision is the NHL or Russia. Our electing to go to arbitration ensures he will get fair market value in the NHL. Arbitration takes the money out of the decision."
And should Korolyuk stay in Russia for the coming season, how would it affect the Sharks on-ice plans?
"We have Marco (Sturm) and Milan (Michalek) back and no we do not have a lack of people ready for the ice time," said Wilson. "We have a lot of players who are ready or pretty well ready. It is a healthy competitiveness and chance can create opportunity."
Young players who will be knocking loudly on the training camp door are Steve Bernier, Josh Hennessy and Lukas Kaspar.
OTHER RESTRICTEDS By filing for arbitration the Sharks know that they will be one player closer to signing everyone by training camp. Wilson has four players from the 2003-04 roster currently without deals, however, he anticipates no problems moving forward.
"We are progressing nicely to get all our players under contract so we can start the season without any distractions," said Wilson.