The San Jose Sharks are reportedly closing in on signing a top college free agent in Arizona State defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk.
The San Jose Sharks may be on hiatus like the rest of the NHL, but that hasn’t stopped them from making moves. In fact, the team is reportedly nearing a deal with top college free agent defensemen Brinson Pasichnuk.
As first reported by Kevin Kurz of The Athletic, the Sharks are “closing in on a deal” for the 22-year-old, left-handed defenseman.
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The Sharks were one of two teams considered to be finalists for the standout senior along with the Arizona Coyotes. But the Coyotes have reportedly dropped out of the race leaving the Sharks as his final option.
Pasichnuk has spent the past four years at Arizona State improving his play in each season He was originally draft-eligible in 2016 and 2017 but went undrafted despite being ranked 115th by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau back in 2016.
Fortunately, it appeared to work in his favor as Pasichnuk put together a career year this past season finishing with 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in just 36 games — the best offensive season of his career to date.
Since he was no longer draft-eligible, Pasichnuk had around 20 or so NHL teams vying for his services over the past few weeks and it appears as though the Sharks will be the lucky ones.
Some of the other top college free agents have already signed contracts with NHL teams such as Minnesota State defenseman Connor Mackey with Calgary, St. Cloud State defenseman Jack Ahcan with Boston, and Massachusetts right-winger Mitchell Chaffee with Minnesota.
Pasichnuk, however, was biding his time as he awaited the NHL’s decision on the current league postponement. Pro Hockey Rumors detailed why Pasichnuk could be waiting so long to make a decision.
"“Teams typically have used a willingness to have a player play his first year down the stretch to help secure them but with the uncertainty surrounding the remainder of the season, the league has stepped in and said it won’t accept contracts that begin this season. That has certainly levelled the playing field but there isn’t much risk on Pasichnuk’s part to wait this out. As long as his two finalists don’t decide to withdraw, the opportunity to sign with either of them would still be there if the NHL winds up cancelling the rest of the season.”"
This all makes sense and given the increasing unlikelihood that the NHL will resume its regular season, it seems likely that Pasichnuk will sign soon. Given the report from Kurz, the official announcement could come within a day or two.
Pasichnuk would give the Sharks another young defenseman to develop in the farm system for a little while. Given his age and experience, he likely wouldn’t have to spend too long in the AHL either.
But if signed, expect Pasichnuk to at least spend a good portion of his first season playing with the Barracuda.
The Sharks need more prospects to help rebuild a barren farm system and Pasichnukis just the type of player they need.