Photo credit: @NBCSSharks
By Mary Walsh
As the 2019 NHL Free Agency season begins, the San Jose Sharks say goodbye to Joe Pavelski, who will play for the Dallas Stars next season. According to hockey insider Pierre LeBrun, the contract is for three years and $21 million.
After the news broke, Sharks GM Doug Wilson released the following statement:
From being a seventh-round draft pick in 2003 to serving as captain of our team for the last four seasons, Joe Pavelski’s place in Sharks history is firmly cemented and he will be sorely missed.
Joe led by example, not only as a player but as a person, and the impact he has had on this franchise and his teammates will be felt for years to come.
Under a cap system, these extremely difficult separations are a reality and, unfortunately, we could not find common ground on dollars and term to keep Joe in San Jose. However, like many other players around the NHL, Joe has earned the right to become a free agent. We respect his decision and want to thank Joe, his wife Sarah and son, Nate, for 13 wonderful seasons. They will always be part of the San Jose Sharks family.
Starting in 2010, Pavelski was a reliable 60+ point player for San Jose, playing both at center and on the wing. He is one of the best in the league at tipping the puck into the net. He is also known for being responsible defensively, ending just one season with a minus rating.
The Sharks named him captain in 2015, replacing Joe Thornton. The 2018-19 season was the last in a five year, $30 million contract with the Sharks. Last season, Pavelski led the team in goals with 38 and 64 points in 75 games. In the playoffs, he had nine points in 13 games.
Pavelski joins a talented Dallas team, boasting the likes of Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov and Jamie Benn. Corey Perry, bought out by the Anaheim Ducks, will also head to Dallas, adding yet another veteran forward to the Stars roster.
Pavelski talked about the move to the NHL Network today:
If we were going to be leaving San Jose, we wanted to go to a contender, a team that you really respected and thought were close to winning. And, you know what, looking at Dallas and some of the teams we looked at, they were one team that really checked off a lot of boxes for us. And, you know, in my time in San Jose, that organization, I’ve only played with great players and it was something that I don’t even think you understand. It’s a nice privilege to have, to play with Joe Thornton, Patty Marleau, and Logan Couture and these guys that like to compete and play hard, show up every day and really have a great environment around the rink.
So it’s, you know, going to Dallas, there’s a great goalie, their goal tandem, they’ve been really good. And then you look at their D-corps and they’ve got some great young defensemen, are offensive-minded and really compete back there and you’re playing with some high-end players up front. So, checks off a lot of boxes, like where the team’s at, like some of the additions they’ve made along the way too.
After the Sharks signed defenseman Erik Karlsson to an eight-year, $92 million contract, it became unlikely that they would have cap space to hold on to all of their top players. At 35 years old, fan favorite Pavelski is one of those cap casualties. Joonas Donskoi is also leaving the team. The 27 year old forward has signed a four-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche. Defenseman Joakim Ryan is leaving too, signing a one year contract with the Los Angeles Kings