SAN JOSE -- The Sharks signed forward James Sheppard to a one-year, $1.3 million contract Tuesday, leaving defenseman Jason Demers as the only regular from last season's lineup not in the fold.

Sheppard's contract came 24 hours after forward Tommy Wingels agreed to a new three-year, $7.4 million contract. General manager Doug Wilson said having both 26-year-olds under contract was important to the rebuild he said the franchise is going through.

"He certainly played well down the stretch and in the playoffs," Wilson said of Sheppard. "This is a very important summer for him to come back and start the beginning of next season right where he left off."

Wingels, Wilson said, "epitomizes exactly what we're looking for in a player. ... The way he plays the game is certainly important for this phase we're going through."

The longer contract for Wingels shows a commitment on both sides as he agreed to give up his first two years of unrestricted free agency.

Wingels, speaking from Florida where he is getting married to his college girlfriend this weekend, said he was "humbled by the opportunity" to sign the long-term deal and did not sound put off by talk of a rebuild.

"If they think we have a better chance to take one step back to get a couple steps closer, that's a decision Doug has to make," Wingels said. "As a player, you're committed to your team and you're committed to whatever decision the general manager makes."


Advertisement

Attempts to reach Sheppard were unsuccessful.

San Jose's nominee for the Masterton Trophy in 2013, Sheppard was acquired from the Minnesota Wild in 2011 for a third-round draft pick. He missed the next season recovering from knee surgery, split a year between Worcester and San Jose, then found a regular spot last season.

He had four goals and 16 assists in 67 games, but came on strong late in the year on the third line and was one of San Jose's few overachievers in the playoffs with two goals and four assists in the seven-game loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

Sheppard was Minnesota's first-round selection in the 2006 draft and the ninth player taken overall.

Demers, 26, filed for arbitration last week after he and the Sharks, who showed their interest in keeping him by issuing a qualifying offer June 30, could not reach agreement on a new deal.

"We'll get him under contract -- it's just trying to find a middle ground that works for him and works for us as far as dollars and term," Wilson said. "He's another guy who had a good season, probably wasn't overly pleased with his playoffs but will learn from it."

  • Wilson said Tomas Hertl tweaked his knee Tuesday at development camp and may not play in the prospects game Wednesday night at SAP Center.

    "Minor tweak, just soreness from not skating," said Wilson, playing down the problem while declining to provide further details. Hertl missed 45 games last season after a knee-on-knee hit, but came back to play the final two regular-season games as well as the playoffs.