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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 ANA 48 32 10 6 143 124 70
2 NSH 46 31 10 5 141 107 67
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 48 30 16 2 151 112 62
5 WPG 49 26 15 8 138 122 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 46 26 17 3 124 118 55
8 CGY 48 26 19 3 140 126 55
9 LAK 48 21 15 12 133 129 54
10 COL 49 20 18 11 128 141 51
11 DAL 47 21 19 7 146 154 49
12 MIN 47 21 20 6 130 138 48
13 ARI 47 16 25 6 108 160 38
14 EDM 48 12 27 9 110 160 33

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 48 24 18 10 42
L. Couture 48 18 24 2 42
J. Thornton 44 10 27 0 37
B. Burns 48 11 24 -6 35
P. Marleau 48 9 24 -10 33
T. Wingels 47 11 14 -2 25
J. Braun 47 1 18 4 19
T. Hertl 48 8 9 -2 17
M. Vlasic 47 6 10 13 16
J. Sheppard 42 4 9 -2 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 19 11 5 .912 2.57
A. Stalock 5 5 1 .905 2.65
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