The San Jose Sharks re-signed restricted free agent forward Kevin Labanc to a one-year deal, general manager Doug Wilson announced Monday.
Labanc, 23, made his case for a new deal with the Sharks last season by registering career highs in goals (17), assists (39), power-play points (20) and game-winning goals (4).
"Kevin took a big step forward in his production last season and has grown into an important part of our team here in San Jose," Wilson said in a statement. "He's always had a dangerous shot but really stepped into a playmaking role for us last season and improved his 200-foot game as well. We think he still has even more potential to tap into and we're excited to see what he can do with an elevated role with this talented group."
According to multiple reports, Labanc earns $1 million on the deal. With no arbitration rights until next summer, he appears to be banking on reproducing what he did last season and getting a much bigger contract next summer.
His most memorable moments came in Game 7 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, when he had three assists and the go-ahead goal on the power play in the third period that propelled the Sharks to knock off the Vegas Golden Knights. He became the first player in NHL history to record four points in a single period in a Game 7 of a playoff series.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't watch the highlights from that game a couple times,'' Labanc said.
Labanc developed his all-around game during his third NHL season and showed he could produce with talented linemates. He thrived with Joe Thornton and Marcus Sorensen but could see time with the likes of Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture in 2019-20.
"There's a lot of opportunity up there,'' Labanc said. "Last year was a good stepping stone for me to kind of prove myself that I can handle that top-six role.''
Labanc's 56 points were good for sixth on the team -- tied with 27-year-old Evander Kane, whom the Sharks signed to a seven-year, $49 million deal in May 2018. Labanc added nine points in 20 playoff games.
In his three seasons with the Sharks, Labanc has appeared in 214 NHL games and recorded 116 points with a plus-2 rating.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
San Jose re-signs RFA Labanc to one-year deal
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