NHL veteran Jeremy Roenick has reportedly re-signed with the San Jose Sharks to a 1-year, $1 million contract.
After failed stints with the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes, many fans and analysts wrote Roenick off as being at the downturn of his career. San Jose took a gamble and signed the free agent for the 2007-2008 season, at a heavily discounted price of $500,000.
The feisty forward took advantage of the chance and reignited his career with 33 points in 69 regular-season games. He also brought a much-needed veteran presence to the Sharks. His unwaning passion for the sport served as a model for the younger players.
On Nov. 10, 2007, Roenick scored his 500th career NHL goal in a 4-1 Sharks victory over the Phoenix Coyotes, for whom Roenick played a substantial amount of his career. He was only the third American-born player to accomplish the feat, with Joe Mullen and Mike Modano being previous ones. He has yet to win a Stanley Cup championship in his 19-year NHL career, but decided to return to the defending Pacific Division champions.
Roenick's return can only be viewed as a victory for Sharks management and fans, as he helps the franchise retain a stable and reliable player in this off-season of uncertainty for the club. With their long-time head coach Ron Wilson fired and captain Patrick Marleau possibly on the trade block, it's important that the team has some type of stability. Because of his experience (and just as importantly, the energy he brings to the rink everyday), he can serve as a mentor to any new faces that are expected to come in before training camp in September.
The team needs to feel confident that they're still contenders, and turning to Roenick would provide some reassurance to his teammates' psyches. While he isn't expected to put up a major amount of points like the Sidney Crosbys or Joe Thorntons of the league, he does provide a relatively consistent and competent performance on the ice. The Sharks don't really have anything to lose by retaining Roenick, but there is that potential for a decent gain for them. His 10 game-winning goals last season proved that he could still contribute to his team's fortunes.
Files from TSN.ca were used in this report