SAN JOSE — The Sharks did what they needed to do Monday to retain the rights to three restricted free agents, issuing what the NHL calls qualifying offers to Tommy Wingels, James Sheppard and Jason Demers.

General contract discussions are continuing with the three — all 26 — who would appear to fit into general manager Doug Wilson's stated plan for a rebuild this season.

With the timing on the eve of the NHL's annual free agent frenzy that begins at 9 a.m. PDT Tuesday, Wilson noted again that he does not expect to be adding veterans at the same time he has asked those on his own team — including Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau -- to think about whether or not they want to return.

"Since we're in our rebuild mode, we're going to have some opportunity for our younger players," said Wilson, who traditionally has stayed away from any blockbuster signing on July 1.

The Sharks also issued qualifying offers to minor league defensemen Taylor Doherty and Matt Tennyson as well as goalie Harri Sateri, who will be playing in Russia next season. The team did not retain the rights to former first-round draft pick Nick Petrecki as well as Sena Acolatse, Adam Comrie, Brodie Reid, Sebastian Stalberg and Marek Viedensky.

With the contracts for Wingels, Sheppard and Demers expiring Monday night and no new agreement in place, the offers both keep them in the fold and establish a minimum salary for a one-year deal as negotiations continue.


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Based on formulas set up in the NHL labor pact, Wingels is guaranteed an increase from $850,000 to $892,000, Sheppard an increase from $830,000 to $871,500 while Demers is assured of making the same $1.5 million he did last season.

Wingels had a breakthrough season, finishing with 16 goals and 22 assists in 77 games. Sheppard earned the center spot on the third line late in the season and scored two goals and four assists in the seven-game playoff loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Demers had his most productive season on the blue line with five goals and 34 points in 75 games.

The lack of new contracts at this point isn't a sign of any problems at the negotiating table. Wingels, for example, said talks are going fine and his agent, Dan Plante, added: "We'll get it figured out. I'm not worried about it at all."