Sharks’ Kevin Labanc Is Worth Every Pennyby Dom Lunardo October 29, 2020 0 comments
On a San Jose Sharks team stacked with talent with the likes of Brent Burns, Timo Meier, Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson, and Tomas Hertl, it’s easy to forget some of the other catalysts. Hockey fans can add one more name to the aforementioned list of studs in Silicon Valley. That name is Kevin Labanc.
Although he may not be a bona fide household name just yet, Labanc is poised for stardom. The forward is a solid piece on a deeply skilled Sharks club hoping to have a bounce-back campaign in 2020-21. Read on to find out what makes Labanc so special. Why his most recent contract extension is a huge win for the entire Sharks organization.
It’s the age-old “what a difference a year makes”. At the end of the 2018-19 season, the Sharks and Lebanc agreed to terms on a one-year “prove-it” deal worth $1 million. The deal raised a few eyebrows for a player coming off a 17-goal, 56-point campaign. But hold your horses, folks, the Sharks brass had a trick up their sleeve. Fast forward 14 months and the tables have certainly turned.
On October 10, 2020, Labanc put pen to paper and agreed with the Sharks on a four-year/$18.9 million contract extension, insulating him within the Sharks organization (and their passionate fan base) for the foreseeable future. This is a tremendous piece of business and a win-win scenario for both Sharks general manager Doug Wilson and Labanc. In the span of just a few short seasons, Labanc has firmly established himself as a top-six forward in the NHL. He is a key cog on a roster filled with both veteran leadership and youthful exuberance. There are not enough good things to say about this deal because it is a wonderful step in the right direction for a team looking for a return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In short, one might say he “took it to the banc”.
The Skill Set
There is a lot to admire about Lebanc and how he goes about his business as an everyday player in the NHL. He is extremely hard-working and ultra-competitive. One of those guys who just puts his head down and strives to be the best he can possibly be. Even in today’s NHL, where every dollar and cent needs to be accounted for (given the league’s flat salary cap), that still means something. Labanc loves being a part of the organization and is quick and crafty with the puck on the ice. An intelligent skater with a real nose for the net, he continues to become a more consistent player in all facets of the game. At the tender age of 25, the sky really is the limit for one of the game’s most exciting young talents.
In addition to his offensive production, Leblanc has taken a lot of pride in his defensive game over the past few seasons. Fans love what he brings to the table and the Sharks should be ecstatic that he’ll be sticking around for the next four years. He has the innate ability to change the outcome of the game with his feet, hockey IQ, and goal-scoring. That’s not too shabby for a former sixth-round pick.
As we look ahead to the 2020-21 NHL campaign (whenever that may be), the Sharks and Labanc will certainly be chomping at the bit to get going. Expect big things from Labanc this season, as he has all the makings to eclipse the 25-goal, 60-point plateau. Stay tuned, hockey fans.
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