Stuart returns to San Jose.

Various sources report the San Jose Sharks have acquired the rights of defenseman Brad Stuart from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for forward Andrew Murray and a conditional pick in the 2014 Entry Draft. Stuart is eligible for UFA status on July 1st.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move gives the Sharks exclusive negotiating rights with Stuart from now until July 1st. I suspect, however, negotiations aren’t going to take that long. Stuart began his NHL career with the Sharks, and his family lives there year-round. It was widely anticipated he’d sign with a California-based team this summer in order to be closer to his family.

Returning to San Jose is exactly what he wants, the Sharks obviously want him back, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he agreed to a bit of a “hometown discount”. He’s coming off a four-year deal with an average annual salary of $3.75 million, so I’d expect the salary in his next contract will be around that.  Murray, 30, is a checking line forward who played half of last season with the Sharks. Prior to that, he spent 3 1/2 seasons with Columbus. He’s a UFA this summer.