San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has signed Mark Bell to a three-year contract. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Bell was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks on July 9 in exchange for defenseman Tom Preissing and center Josh Hennessy.
“It was very important to us and it was very important to him," said Wilson of getting the deal done. "We have very high expectations for Mark to come in and play with the players we have in this environment. It’s a great sign by Mark to be willing to come in and commit to San Jose and give up unrestricted years.”
Bell, 25, finished second on the Blackhawks in scoring last season, setting new career-highs with 48 points (25 goals, 23 assists) and added 107 penalty minutes while playing in all 82 games for the third consecutive season. It was the second consecutive 20+ goal campaign for the power forward in four full NHL seasons, each of which he recorded over 100 penalty minutes. In addition, he led the team in power play goals (11) and shots (225) in 2005-06.
Bell was second on Chicago with 10 multiple-point games and posted an eight-game scoring streak from Nov. 13 to Dec. 2 registering 14 points (nine goals, five assists). He played his 300th career game on Jan. 11 vs. Philadelphia …
The six-foot-four, 210-pound native of St. Paul’s, Ontario is primarily a left wing/center but can play all three forward positions. In 339 NHL games, all with Chicago, Bell has posted 151 points (72 goals, 79 assists) and 454 penalty minutes. He was originally drafted by Chicago in the first round (8th overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
“Ron will decide who plays with who but I think if you look at our top six forwards, he’s going to play with some good players," said Wilson. "We think Mark is going to get to the next level and that a change will be good for him.”