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NHL - US Sports: Hertl ready to play leading Sharks role

Forward Tomas Hertl insists he's ready to play a leading role for the San Jose Sharks after he signed a new eight-year contract extension.

The Sharks, 300/1 to win the Stanley Cup, announced the deal for the 28-year-old on Wednesday, ending speculation that the Czech would become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Hertl a leading light for Sharks

Centreman Hertl has scored 48 points (25 goals, 23 assists) in 59 games this season and is tied with Timo Meier for the Sharks lead in goals and is second behind Meier in points (58).

Selected by the Sharks in the first-round, 17th overall of the 2012 NHL Draft, Hertl has scored 371 points (176 goals, 195 assists) in 562 regular season games and 42 points (24 goals, 18 assists) in 62 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

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San Jose have not qualified for the play-offs for the past two seasons, but Hertl says the potential is there for the Sharks to become regular post-season attendees again.

The Sharks (26-25-8) are seventh in the Pacific Division and ten points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the second Wild Card spot into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

Potential there says Hertl

Hertl said to the media: "I see a lot of potential. We've been down a couple of years, but now it's time to come back. It's (good) to sign a nice long contract and be a franchise player.

"I know what is coming with that. I'm one of the leaders and I have to make it better, so it's challenging for me and I want to see every day, every year us getting better."

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