The San Jose Sharks announced at yesterday's State of the Team event that they had re-signed veteran forward Jeremy Roenick for the 2008-9 season. Details of the contract indicate it is one year at $1 million.
When cleaning out his locker after the team returned from Dallas, Roenick was asked about the prospect of re-signing. He indicated he was confident a deal would be worked out.
Then he quipped that a raise over the 2007-8 league minimum $500,000 contract was in order—"I might make Dougie throw in a few more sticks." By my count, that's about 2,700 sticks, enough for JR's son's career.
He's worth the 100 percent raise.
Roenick had only 14 goals and 19 assists in 66 games (.5 pts/game). He was -8, but played primarily on the fourth line. More telling of his value to the team was that 10 of his scores were game-winners, and one other occurred in a game in which he did score the game winner.
In fact, he set a new league record among players with 10+ goals, with 71.4 percent of his goals being game-winners. The previous record of 63.6 percent was accomplished by Al MacInnis in 1999-2000 and Derek Morris in 2002-03.
Furthermore, including his three shootout-deciding goals, he led the league in game-deciding goals (13); second was Alex Ovechkin with 11 game-winners but no shootout-deciding goals.
He was even with two goals and three assists in 12 play-off games. Both goals came in Game Seven against Calgary, almost single-handedly clinching an advance to the second round. Even though he failed to register a point in two-thirds of his games, his energy was always there, and he was one of the most physical forwards the Sharks had.
Beyond his on-ice accomplishments, his veteran presence was vital in the locker room and during practice. At one point before the Sharks went on their record-setting run from late February through March, he let out a profanity-laced tirade during the morning skate about the lack of effort. This is the kind of personality the Sharks needed more of, as they too often lacked fire.
When the Sharks signed him ten months ago, I remarked, "This is your answer to adding grit?" A player whose production had fallen off for three consecutive years and gotten into public clashes with his coaches? A player who would be lucky to get ice time on a team so deep at the forward position?
The only reason I did not condemn the move is the contract made it worth a roll of the dice. Now even this larger contract feels more like a sure thing.