This comes two days after the news of Logan Couture’s five-year, $30M contract extension with the club. Obviously, Wilson has had no trouble identifying what fueled the Sharks’ postseason success this year. He’s now making haste to sustain it.
“We are very excited to bring Raffi back to the San Jose Sharks,” said Wilson. “He competes hard in all three zones and brought a lot of ingredients to our line-up last season. We think he is a great fit for our club moving forward.”
“Family and I are very excited signing with the Sharks. We look forward to this next chapter in our lives,” Torres said in a text message to CSNCalifornia.com.
Torres’s stay with the Sharks in 2013 was a bit of a roller coaster ride. His acquisition at the trade deadline was met by many (*raises hand*) with a bit of grumbling. He has a well-documented history of thuggish behavior on ice, and he was responsible for two series-altering hits against the Sharks — devastating Milan Michalek in 2006 and separating Joe Thornton’s shoulder in 2011. But as a Shark (and even during the 28 games he played for Phoenix), Torres played clean hockey. Once in San Jose, he became a difference maker for the Sharks with three goals and four assists in 16 games.
Sharks fans know the rest of the story: his presence gave the Sharks a four-line depth they haven’t seen in years, but his hit on Jarret Stoll was deemed worthy of a series-long suspension. His absence, in turn, put Todd McLellan’s line combinations in disarray and — that’s right — the Sharks lost a great deal of toughness. Wilson took exception to the suspension, releasing a statement about it on the Sharks website. The league promptly fined him $100,000 for the statement. Needless to say, the suspension stood and they didn’t make it past the Kings.
So there is some risk involved in re-signing Torres. Even with a redefined game, the tough winger has a history of malicious hits and the league treats every questionable play by Torres according to his past. Still, Wilson knew the risk when he traded for Torres in the first place, and he made his first step towards securing the forward when he went to bat for him following the suspension.
With the exception of T.J. Galiardi and Tommy Wingels (who are both restricted free agents), the bulk of the Sharks’ top three lines are guaranteed to return for the 2013-14 season. Wilson obviously liked what he saw in the team that swept the Canucks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, and now he’s trying to bring it back for yet another season.