SAN JOSE — The Sharks knew it would take some time to see the benefits of the deal two years ago to acquire James Sheppard from Minnesota.
After spending most of his first year in San Jose rehabbing from a serious leg injury, Sheppard completed his two-year journey back to the NHL in January and showed flashes of why the Wild drafted him in the first round in 2006.
The Sharks re-signed Sheppard to a one-year deal on Wednesday that prevents him from becoming a restricted free agent next week as they hope to build on that progress even more this upcoming season.
"When you see a guy go through adversity and a challenge like this it does reveal his character," general manager Doug Wilson said. "But this is a kid who was a very highly drafted player and a very talented player. I think his best hockey is now ahead of him. ... Now I think you'll see him flourish. We're not even going to put a limit on where he can get to."
The Sharks also signed Andrew Desjardins to a two-year contract. Both forwards could have been restricted free agents July 5 if they had not reached deals.
"I'm very happy to have both these guys signed," Wilson said. "They play the way we're looking for our team to play."
The Sharks originally acquired Sheppard in August 2011 from the Wild for a 2013 third-round draft pick. Sheppard had been suspended the previous season by Minnesota after suffering a career-threatening leg injury from an offseason ATV accident.
Wilson has been busy this offseason since the Sharks were eliminated in seven games in the second round by the Los Angeles Kings. He agreed to a five-year contract extension with star center Logan Couture to keep him off the market next summer. That deal won't be official until July 5.
Wilson also signed potential unrestricted free agent forward Raffi Torres to a $6 million, three-year deal and extended the contract of head coach Todd McLellan.