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Oft-scratched Labanc nearing end of Sharks tenure


Kevin Labanc is trying to make the most of the final stretch of his tenure with the San Jose Sharks, albeit as a healthy scratch.

Labanc, who last played on March 17, told reporters on Tuesday he's not spoken to head coach David Quinn on when he'll play next and has accepted the situation as his four-year, $18.9 million contract expires.

“I’m kind of past it. It is what it is,” Labanc said. “We’ve got 12 games left. Do what you can and control you can, on the ice and off the ice. Just support the boys. It’s always fun being in the locker room with these guys. So I’m just enjoying my time with them.”

The 28-year-old winger has two goals and nine points in 41 games this season while carrying the second-largest cap hit of any Sharks forward at $4.725 million. 

A sixth-round pick of the Sharks in 2014, Labanc made his debut for the club in 2016-17, earning a regular spot in the lineup. He had a career-high 17 goals and 56 points in 82 games in 2018-19 and signed his current contract after posting 14 goals and 33 points in 70 games during the 2019-20 season. 

After being limited to just 21 games in 2021-22, Labanc bounced back last season with 15 goals and 33 points in 72 games. He's failed to keep his spot in the lineup this year, though, with general manager Mike Grier exploring trades for the forward ahead of the deadline.

"I think [Grier] was trying [to get a deal done]," Labanc said Tuesday. "Obviously, it is tough being in the position that I'm in. I haven't really been playing all that much either, so that doesn't really help the case."

The veteran of 473 career games now faces an uncertain future as he approaches unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career, but he's confident that he can still contribute at the NHL level.

“I know I can play. I know I can contribute. I know what my skill set is, and I know what it takes to be in that playoff-type environment and compete in those regular-season games where you need those points,” Labanc said. “So, given the opportunity, I know I can succeed. And I’m excited.”