Raffi Torres wants to stay a Shark. And the feeling appears to be mutual.
Torres, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, was among the players cleaning out their lockers Thursday, a too familiar ritual after every playoff exit. And while he talked about the aftermath of the hit on Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll the forced both players miss the final six games of that playoff series -- Stoll because of injury, Torres because of a suspension -- he seemed even more focused on the future.
"It's not going to be hard to make a decision to stay here. They know I want to," Torres, 31, said. "It's a great group of guys in here ... and it'd be a good place to win."
Torres, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Phoenix Coyotes, earned a prorated $1.75 million. He isn't playing hard to get, but did say he would prefer a multiyear deal.
Coach Todd McLellan said he was encouraged to hear that Torres wants to return and General Manager Doug Wilson appeared to be in agreement.
"We think he is a very good fit, he plays that north-south game, he has speed," Wilson said. "We certainly missed him."
Wilson, of course, came to Torres's defense when the left wing was suspended for the duration of the Sharks series with Los Angeles for his hit on Stoll, criticizing the league's decision. The NHL fine the team $100,000 for his comments and Wilson would not amplify his thoughts on the matter.
Torres and Stoll were teammates with the Edmonton Oilers, and Stoll -- who suffered both a concussion and shoulder injury -- said after Game 6 that he considered the hit "a hockey play," code for something that's part of the game and not outside the rules.