Just as Gerard’s post went up about Yegor Sharangovich and why this coming season is important for him, the New Jersey Devils announced that they re-signed Yegor Sharangovich. Specifically, Sharangovich has been re-signed to a two-season contract worth $4 million for a cap hit of $2 million. He will receive $1.8 million next season and $2.2 million in the following season. He will be a restricted free agent by the end of this contract and be eligible for arbitration at that point.
This is great news. When I wrote up that the Devils re-signed Marian Studenic and A.J. Greer yesterday evening, I noted that the Devils have been happily posting up pictures of Sharangovich on social media. It turned out I did not even need to wait 24 hours for the Devils to announce his new deal. This now means that General Manager Tom Fitzgerald only has one remaining internal free agent left to sign: restricted free agent Janne Kuokkanen. I would guess that Kuokkanen’s next contract may be similar to Sharangovich’s, which is a great contract.
In a dismal 2021 season, Sharangovich was one of the silver linings on the squad. The Belarussian had a fantastic loan spell with Dinamo Minsk and he hit the ground running in the NHL. He not only made the New Jersey squad but it was not long before he made an impact. He scored his first NHL goal in one of the most dramatic ways possible for the team’s first win that season. (He was then known as Egor; he got a ‘Y’ back.) He would go on to score 15 more goals to go with that highlight. It was not long before lined up next across from Kuokkanen and then The Big Deal, Jack Hughes, which was a successful partnership per Natural Stat Trick. The young line was constantly a thorn in the opposition’s side and drove the play forward like few units did last season for the Devils. Sharangovich put up 16 goals and 30 points in 54 games, which extrapolates to roughly 24 goals and 45 points in 82 games. For an overage-drafted (fifth round in 2018) rookie who did not exactly light up the AHL in the last two seasons, that is a very, very good season. While I do not know if he is truly a first-line caliber right wing in this league, he filled the role way better than anyone could have hoped. At a minimum, he showed he can be a top-six winger. Or at least play quite well off Kuokkanen and The Big Deal, Jack Hughes. (Aside: And at age 23, he is still a member of the 2021 Top 25 Devils Under 25 list that you can help decide here.)
Since it is not clear what the long-term future looks like for Sharangovich beyond likely being in the NHL for several seasons (which is a legitimate accomplishment), I really liked how Fitzgerald was able to keep him on on a reasonable bridge deal. Essentially, that is what this contract is. Should Sharangovich continue to thrive, he will be in line for a handsome raise in 2023. If this past season was his peak, then his deal will not put a strain on the cap and it is easy for the team to move on from him. That is usually what a bridge deal looks like and Sharangovich got one. I appreciate that Fitzgerald recognized the results to give him a good raise and short-term security, and that he did not go overboard with a long term commitment. Gerard’s post is still relevant: Sharangovich needs to sustain his gains and make further improvements for a more lucrative future. This coming season will go a long way to determine that.
And, again, this should set the range about what to expect for Kuokkanen. While he was not as productive in terms of shots (61 to Sharangovich’s 114), goals (8 to 16), or points (25 to 30), he was very good at keeping that line going forward with Hughes and Sharangovich. Like Sharangovich, it remains to be seen what his long-term future is in this organization and in this league beyond that he is a NHL player. To that end, I would expect something similar in both term and amount.
I am happy to see that this deal was done and with this amount. I do not think any Devil fan should be unhappy at all about the term, the amount, or the player. That said, I do want to know what you, the People Who Matter, think about Sharangovich’s new contract. Do you think the new deal is fair for both the player and the team? Do you think Sharangovich will over-perform this contract in the next two seasons? What do you expect from him in this coming season? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about these two being re-signed in the comments. Thank you for reading.