The San Jose Sharks have been in the news for all the wrong reasons during this offseason. After an embarrassing playoff effort that saw them blow a 3-0 series lead, the front office tried to get the team to move in a different direction, but kept the roster relatively the same. They stripped Joe Thornton of his captaincy, publicly stated that Thornton and Patrick Marleau‘s roles will diminish and signed John Scott, which was just flat out dumb.
However, after a series of brutal moves and decisions, the Sharks made a terrific business decision to re-sign defenseman Justin Braun to a five-year extension.
Braun, who is 27 years old, evolved into a top-four defenseman for the Sharks last season. Like teammate Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Braun will not stuff the stat sheet. Over the course of his four-year career, he has only recorded a total of 46 points. He is not going to be like Drew Doughty or Duncan Keith; players who run power plays and jump up into the play. With that being said, however, Braun is a terrific top-four defenseman who has great advanced statistics.
Braun had a 55 percent Fenwick for percentage, which takes into account shots on goal and shots that miss the net. Braun was also a positive Corsi player, which is impressive considering he plays a shutdown role and often starts his shifts in his own zone.
The term and dollar amount of this contract is also a steal for the Sharks. A top-four right-handed defenseman entering his prime is hard to find these days, especially with a cap hit of only $3.8 million per year. When you consider the deal Anton Stralman got with the Tampa Bay Lightning, which was a five-year deal worth $4.5 million per year, the Sharks did an excellent job of locking up a key cog for them.
Clearly this has been a tough offseason for the Sharks, but GM Doug Wilson did a great job of keeping a key piece for their team. Braun is going to be a solid defenseman over the next few years, and the money they gave him isn’t overwhelming.