SAN JOSE -- Both sides had their reasons to keep negotiations on course, and now Raffi Torres has a new three-year, $6 million contract with the Sharks.
For the embattled left wing who would have become an unrestricted free agent July 5, it was the chance for stability with a competitive team that had his back when the NHL suspended him during the playoffs.
And for general manager Doug Wilson, it was clear that he thought the rewards far outweighed the risks of long-term commitment to a player trying to overcome a history that could put every questionable hit under the league microscope.
"All the things that we have to factor in, this is a player we want," Wilson said Thursday in announcing the signing. "We're very proud to have Raffi as part of this organization, and everything that had to be thought through was thought through."
Wilson noted that Torres' contributions go beyond the hard-hitting style of play that earned him his reputation. With Torres in the lineup, the Sharks had three scoring lines during much of last spring's 12-5-1 stretch run and through the first-round playoff sweep of the Vancouver Canucks.
"Every player comes with some level of risk, and obviously we're very comfortable with his," Wilson said. "We think he brings all the skill sets we're looking for -- speed, strength, and he can shoot."
After being acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes at the April 3 trade deadline for a third-round draft pick, Torres, 31, had two goals, four assists and a shootout winner in 11 games. His overtime goal also beat the Canucks in Game 2.
But after the opening game of the Western Conference semifinals against the Los Angeles Kings, Torres was suspended for the remainder of the series for a hit on Jarret Stoll, who missed the next six games as well with head and shoulder injuries.
Without Torres, the Sharks were forced to move Joe Pavelski from third-line center to second-line wing, the offense faltered, and San Jose was eliminated in seven games.
In suspending Torres, the NHL cited his history of prior suspensions as well as the particulars of the hit on Stoll. Wilson publicly criticized the suspension and was fined $100,000.
Before coming to the Sharks, Torres had worked closely with Coyotes coach Dave Tippett in an effort to play within acceptable NHL parameters, and that process continued in San Jose under coach Todd McLellan.
"At the end of the day," Torres said, "it's something I'm always going to be working on -- thinking the game a little bit more and obviously try not to put myself in a vulnerable position with those borderline hits."
Wilson made several late-season moves designed to transform the Sharks into a quicker team that takes a "north-south" approach to the game. Torres fit in perfectly, both on the ice and in the locker room.
From Torres' perspective, the three-year term was welcome.
"Knowing that there's going to be some stability," he said, "is something to look forward to and not worry about anything else except going out and playing hard every night."
The Torres contract was Wilson's second move this offseason to lock up players on the roster. Logan Couture agreed to a five-year, $30 million extension that begins in 2014-15, though Wilson will not discuss it until July 5 when it becomes official.