The San Jose Sharks acquired the rights to defenseman Brad Stuart from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Andrew Murray and a conditional draft pick, according to a press release.
Stuart is an unrestricted free agent, so the Sharks will have exclusive rights until July 1 to negotiate a contract.
The 15-year journeyman spent his first six seasons with the Sharks, before moving on to play for the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings.
He played 81 games for the Red Wings last year, notching 21 points (six goals, 15 assists).
There was much speculation going into the offseason that Stuart would return to San Jose in order to be close to his family. While he played in Detroit, Stuart’s wife and kids lived in California, making life very hard for the veteran defenseman.
“I’ve been living here while my family has spent a lot of time in California,” Stuart said, via Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. “I’ve got a step-daughter that needs to finish high school. That’s how it is. There’s really no way to get around that. I guess it will be up to me to decide what needs to be done, because it’s been a tough couple of years. As much fun and as great as it’s been to play here, it’s been equally as tough on the family side of it.”
Stuart went on to say that “it was a combination of things” that prompted his decision not to re-sign with the Wings, and that “I have my family to consider. It was a few different things I was trying to balance.”
On the ice, the Sharks will be getting an experience veteran blueliner, something that they desperately need. At 32 years old, he automatically becomes the second-oldest defenseman on the team, behind only Dan Boyle.
In the press release, Sharks’ GM Doug Wilson stated: “We are very happy to acquire Brad’s rights prior to July 1 and are hopeful that we come to an agreement on a new contract. Brad is a player we are very familiar with – a physical, team-first defenseman who is tough to play against, which is exactly the kind of mentality we want our team to possess.”
Stuart seems happy with his new destination, telling David Pollak, ”I don’t know if it’s going to be my final NHL contarct, but I hope it is my final destination.”