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Sharks Like Fit With Torres Moving Forward

Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 3:53 PM / News
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Sharks Like Fit With Torres Moving Forward
The Sharks elected Thursday to sign Raffi Torres to a new three-year contract.

Raffi Torres' brief time with the San Jose Sharks last season after being acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes in many ways encapsulated what the previous several seasons have been like for the energetic, hard-hitting forward.

Torres became extremely popular in the Sharks' dressing room in short order and was a major factor in their sweep of the Northwest Division-winning Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Then he was suspended for the final six games of their seven-game loss to the rival Los Angeles Kings in the second round following an illegal hit on forward Jarret Stoll in the series opener.

Still, after weighing the risks against the rewards, the Sharks elected Thursday to sign the 31-year-old left wing to a new three-year contract.

"Every player comes with some level of risk. We're obviously very comfortable with this," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said during a conference call announcing the signing. "Raffi, in the last year -- and credit goes to [coaches] Dave Tippett in Phoenix and Todd [McLellan] here -- has transformed and evolved his game, and become a very effective player."


VOTE ON THE BEST RAFFI TORRES HIGHLIGHT OF 2012-13

Torres had six points in 11 regular-season games after the Sharks acquired him from the Phoenix Coyotes the day of the NHL Trade Deadline, and then added the overtime goal in Game 2 against the Canucks that helped spur San Jose to a quick dispatching of Vancouver.

Opinions still differ on the hit Torres delivered to Stoll in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals -- at the time, he received a two-minute minor for charging. Stoll ended up missing the remainder of the series before coming back for the conference final. Torres, who served a 21-game suspension levied during the 2012 postseason for his illegal hit on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa, saw his season end in street clothes for the second consecutive year.

Torres said Thursday that although he continues to believe there wasn't anything dirty about the hit on Stoll, he remains mindful about toeing the line while on the ice.

"At end of the day, I'm always going to be working on that until the day I'm done playing, thinking the game a little more and trying not to put myself in those vulnerable positions with borderline hits," he said.

Torres, a first-round pick by the New York Islanders in the 2000 NHL Draft, has played for five teams in five seasons since leaving the Edmonton Oilers following the 2007-08 season, making a long-term contract all the more important.

"It's great, just a big sigh of relief for myself and family," he said. "For the short time we were [in San Jose] we really enjoyed it and knew right away -- just my wife, the mood I was in coming back from rink, it's a great organization and when we got the news we were thrilled."

Torres scored 19 goals three seasons ago for the Columbus Blue Jackets and finished with 29 and 26 points the following two seasons with the Vancouver Canucks and Coyotes, respectively. More than any offensive numbers, though, Wilson liked the depth Torres provided to the Sharks' top three lines and the chemistry he developed with his teammates on and off the ice.

"He has a great reputation as a teammate," Wilson said, noting the Sharks had done their homework in that respect prior to trading for Torres. "He came in, it was very quickly, guys said, 'We like having him on our side.'

"He works hard, he's a strong, fit guy. When he was playing with [Joe] Pavelski and [Tommy] Wingels or [Martin] Havlat, the impact it had on team -- he added ingredients of toughness and speed, but also more scoring. He's a piece that fits with our style of play and what the coaching staff needs going forward."

Author: Brian Hunter | NHL.com Staff Writer

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 65 41 17 7 193 158 89
2 ANA 65 41 17 7 193 178 89
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 WPG 64 32 20 12 179 172 76
6 VAN 63 36 24 3 182 173 75
7 MIN 63 34 22 7 179 163 75
8 CGY 63 34 25 4 178 162 72
9 LAK 63 30 21 12 171 164 72
10 SJS 65 32 25 8 185 183 72
11 DAL 64 28 26 10 199 212 66
12 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
13 ARI 64 20 37 7 139 218 47
14 EDM 64 18 36 10 145 213 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 65 32 28 14 60
L. Couture 65 22 33 1 55
J. Thornton 61 12 43 1 55
B. Burns 65 16 32 -1 48
P. Marleau 65 15 33 -14 48
T. Wingels 58 13 16 -3 29
T. Hertl 65 10 15 -1 25
M. Vlasic 60 8 12 14 20
M. Nieto 55 6 14 -8 20
J. Braun 54 1 19 7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 25 17 7 .913 2.61
A. Stalock 6 7 1 .904 2.66
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