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Hertl on trade to Vegas: 'I couldn't say no'

Tomas Hertl Sharks Tomas Hertl - Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Tomas Hertl was involved in the most surprising move of the trade deadline, heading to the Vegas Golden Knights as the San Jose Sharks furthered their rebuild.

Hertl, currently sidelined by injury but eyeing a return before the playoffs, said the opportunity to compete for a Stanley Cup again was one he could not turn down. 

"You’re always thinking about your options because the recent situation in San Jose, it wasn't easy the last couple of years," Hertl said Monday, per "... Last couple of years, after halfway through the season you’re out. Every year, it definitely gets harder and harder, especially this year.

“It was tough to leave San Jose, but I couldn't say no because I'm now in my 30s. I think I still have a lot to bring, and San Jose is just in a different spot. You can win here (in Vegas) now or next year and then next year after, and that's where I'm really looking forward, because like a hockey player you want to win the Cup.”

The 30-year-old forward is in his 11th NHL season and while he reached the Stanley Cup final with San Jose in 2016, he has missed the postseason entirely in each of the past four years. 

Hertl posted 15 goals and 34 points in 48 games this season before being sidelined by an injury on Jan. 27, which led to surgery on his knee last month. He said Monday he expects to start skating in about "two weeks" as he makes his way back.  

Once he joins the Golden Knights lineup, Hertl said he's open to playing any role necessary to helping the team. 

“I can be a two-way player. Really strong on the puck, hold the puck, make some plays and score some goals, too," he said. "Over the years, I played both PK and power play, so whatever (coach) Bruce Cassidy wants me to do, I will do it because I just don't care about anything else or any points. I just, you know, care to win every game I'm on the ice. That's what matters. I can just bring a lot on the ice.

"Off the ice, I think I can be one of the leaders. I don’t mind speaking up to the team. I just definitely want to be settled and just find a way be one of the leadership group.”

Hertl is currently in just the second season of an eight-year, $65.1 million deal signed with San Jose in 2022. The Sharks retained $1.39 million in Friday's trade, leaving Hertl to count for $6.75 million against the Vegas' cap through the 2029-30 season.