As first read on Hockeybuzz and then corroborated by the San Jose Mercury News today, Ryan Clowe has agreed to a new contract with the San Jose Sharks.
No other source could be found to verify the report and it was not announced on the team site (www.sharks.nhl.com) or the paper's website. As a wannabe professional journalist, I usually prefer to have more than two sources.
However, since one is the definitive print media source for the Sharks as their hometown paper, I believe the information is trustworthy. One might speculate (if one were me) that there has been no announcement because it is an agreement in principal and is not yet official.
According to an unconfirmed report, the deal is for one year, $1.6 million. This would mean that Clowe would be a restricted free agent in 2009; I would not expect him to be buying a home in the Bay Area because this appears to be a sub-market value contract, and he may prefer to be elsewhere next year.
On the other hand, if Kevin Lowe doesn't have room for him, maybe no one will be willing to part with the picks necessary to sign him. He is only one of ten free agents the Sharks will have at the end of the season, half of which are unrestricted.
It is unlikely they will even try to re-sign Rob Blake, Jeremy Roenick, or Kyle McLaren, and they might be willing to lose Mike Grier and Brian Boucher, as well as restricted free agent Marcel Goc. But they likely want to re-sign unrestricted free agent Douglas Murray as well as Torrey Mitchell, Marc-Eduoard Vlassic, and Clowe. That might be more than they can handle.
Christian Ehrhoff got $9.3 million over three years and, while playing a position of greater need for San Jose, is not near the impact player Clowe is. Ryan did suffer a major knee injury that kept him out of 67 games last season, but came back fairly strong in the playoffs despite a lull early in the second round.
Next year's probable departure notwithstanding, Clowe's signing would solidify the Sharks as the only team in the league to have all three units (forwards, defencemen, and goaltenders) indisputably in the top five in the league and best in the division. Winning Lord Stanley's Cup would sugarcoat the loss of Clowe in the off-season.
Image found on google.