In the NHL, contract values are at an all-time high. Players are seeking to get the most for their services, and rightfully so.
When Kevin Labanc signed a one-year, $1-million deal this summer with the San Jose Sharks, many were left scratching their heads. The former Barrie Colt, who notched 17 goals and 56 points last season, surely could’ve fetched more than that. But as the winger stated, he took less to help out his club.
“I think I did [general manager Doug Wilson] a big favor, and the Sharks organization, taking that deal,” Labanc said to Adam Kimelman of NHL.com. “There's a lot more salary cap (space) for him to get another one or two players. It's awesome and I think it'll help our team be good Stanley Cup contenders this year and that's where we want to be, we want to hoist the Stanley Cup this year. It's a long season, and we're going to need every player we can get.”
In the salary cap era of the NHL, that is the definition of a team player.
The move by the Staten Island, NY., native has left San Jose with more than $4.5 million in cap space. That money could go toward bringing back Joe Thornton, who remains undecided in his decision to return for another season, or a possible late-summer addition.
Regardless of what the Sharks decide to do with the extra cash, Labanc’s willingness to put the team first is admirable - even if he’s still making seven-figures next year.
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