Tomas Hertl said he could consider taking less money to sign a long-term contract with the San Jose Sharks.
The 27-year-old forward is the final season of a four-year contract he signed July 2, 2018. He referenced former San Jose teammate Joe Thornton, a 42-year-old forward entering his 24th NHL season and yet to win the Stanley Cup. Thornton signed a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers on Aug. 13 after playing last season for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“[Thornton] was one of the guys, he could take way more money, but he takes less because he wants a really good team,” Hertl said Friday. “I like that idea. You can go somewhere else, sign the maximum, even maybe too much, but you’re losing for the next eight years.
“I don’t want to be in this position. I just don’t want to say I will take less and just take it for the team, but I think I’m a little bit for that idea.”
Hertl has played his entire seven-season NHL career for the Sharks after he was chosen with the No. 17 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. He said during the NHL/NHLPA Player Media Tour on Sept. 16 that he had yet to speak with general manager Doug Wilson about a new contract since the end of last season, and he was told by Wilson and his agent, Craig Oster, they’d like him to stay long term.
How the Sharks perform this season could determine whether that becomes a reality. San Jose has missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons after qualifying in 14 of the previous 15 and may look to move Hertl ahead of the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline if it falls out of contention.
“I’ve had several conversations with his agent,” Wilson said. “And when you have conversations with agents, they are always kept in confidence. Tomas knows how we feel about him, I’ll leave it at that. I’ve talked to his agent several times. Tomas and I are going to talk in this next little while and it will be kept in confidence between the two of us. But I think everybody knows how we feel about him.”
Hertl has scored 323 points (151 goals, 172 assists) in 505 regular-season games, 42 points (24 goals, 18 assists) in 62 playoff games and helped San Jose reach the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, a six-game loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. His last postseason appearance was the 2019 Western Conference Final, a six-game loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in six games.
“At the end of the day for [Wilson], it’s business,” Hertl said. “He has to make the best decision for his team. We’ll see in a couple of weeks and when we talk to him during the year. Right now, I’m not really thinking about it or looking forward or calling my agent [asking] hey I want to know in a month or something. I want to just play hockey and help the team, and these things we’ll figure out.”
NHL.com independent correspondent Chelena Goldman contributed to this report