| Cheechoo & Nabokov sign long term
GM Wilson works to avoid
2/7/06 - By Mike Lee
The Sharks finally got a dose of good news this week, albeit off
the ice. The club announced that they have resigned forward Jonathan Cheechoo
to a five-year extension and goaltender Evgeni Nabokov to a four year deal.
The proactive contract activity means the Sharks won't have to deal with any
negotiations heading into training camp next Fall.
Nabokov was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this
season, and they made no bones about the fact that think he's the netminder
that will take them to the next level. TSN reported that his deal was worth
$21.5 million, or $5.125 per season over the next four years.
Cheechoo, the Sharks leading goal scorer, has emerged as a legitimate scoring
threat this season, so the Sharks were eager to signed to a long term deal.
His contract is reportedly in the $15 million range.
"We're very pleased that both players made the commitment to stay here in San
Jose and that they want to be here," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said.
"Nabby is one of the top goaltenders in the league and Cheech continues to
improve every year as one of the game's best goal scorers. We are very happy to
get them signed long term."
San Jose wouldn't have lost Cheechoo, who would have become a restricted free
agent, but Wilson has done everything in his power to avoid contract
distractions going into camp since he assumed the GM role back in 2003.
"I think they've shown a lot of confidence in me and I'm confident in the
team," Cheechoo said. "It's pretty exciting. When they went out and got Joe
Thornton, it showed they wanted to win."
Nabokov has struggled this season, but still stands as the Sharks franchise
leader in almost every goaltending category. Wilson is banking on a return to
form that helped the Sharks capture division crowns in the 2001-02 and 2003-04
"I wanted to be here and I think we have a great chance to win," said Nabokov,
who will play for Russia in the Olympics later this month. "We have a great
team and it will just take some extra hard work to get where we want to be. We
will get there and I want to be part of it."
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