The 30-year-old, who is in the final year of his four-year, $14.5 million contract with the Sharks, has tallied 56 penalty minutes in just 11 games for San Jose this year. As a partial result, his offensive numbers have taken a hit, with just five assists to show. Clowe has yet to score a goal for a team that is top-10 in goals scored this season, including 29 goals in its first seven games. In addition, he has played the majority of the season on the second line for the Sharks, which relies solely on their top two lines for offense.
Head coach Todd McLellan has already begun tweaking the lines to in order to stir up some sort of production from Clowe and a top line that has suddenly cooled off from their torrid start.
Clowe’s offensive struggle was never more apparent than on Saturday, when he sent seven shots to the net against the Phoenix Coyotes in a seemingly desperate attempt to get off the schneid. He sent seven shots to the net against the Nashville Predators on Feb. 2, as well, and both games have resulted in low-scoring shootout losses for the Sharks.
Clowe has picked a rather bad time to enter an offensive slump. It has always been his offense that has been called into question and not the ability to make his presence felt on the ice in several ways, whether through big hits or never backing down from a fight. However, as Clowe sits in the final year of his contract before entering free agency, his recent struggles have caused his stock to take a major hit.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported last month that Clowe and the Sharks have had preliminary discussions about re-signing with the team. Clowe is a player that every team would love to have on their roster, as he provides not only a physical presence on the ice, but an ability to produce on offense. The Sharks likely do not intend for Clowe to escape this season without a new contract, as he would be a highly coveted player during the offseason.
CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz is reporting that Clowe intends to stay with the Sharks as well, but understands the team’s financial situation.
“The Sharks already have $53.7 million tied up in 13 players next season according to CapGeek.com, with the NHL’s salary cap set at $64.3 million. It could be tricky for them to keep Clowe without shedding salary elsewhere, either by trade or using a compliance buyout. Each club is allowed two buyouts this offseason, as part of the recent CBA agreement.”
Clowe will make $4 million this year with a $3.625 million cap hit, according to CapGeek.com.
Losing Clowe would be a huge loss for the Sharks, despite the low offensive production this far into the season. He is not only a physical presence out on the ice, but a major influence in the locker room, and re-signing him at any cost would be best for a franchise with newfound money behind it. Getting off the schneid and producing on offense will only help Clowe’s case this season.
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