Much has been made about the aging core of this San Jose Sharks team and when they might decide to start selling pieces in order to get younger, once they decide that this current core isn’t the group to get them over their playoff hump. But if and when that does happen, it’s pretty clear that Joe Pavelski won’t be among the players that the Sharks could unload.
Like Logan Couture and Brent Burns, Pavelski represents the younger core of the Sharks, and the foundation for what this organization will try and build up moving forward. The only issue is the fact that Pavelski is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Which means that he’s eligible for a contract extension now. With one year and $4 million remaining on his deal, the Sharks should seek an extension with Pavelski sooner, rather than later. We’ve already seen them lock up one piece long term, with Couture’s extension earlier this summer. Now it’s Pavelski’s turn.
Pavelski will turn 30 after next season, but he doesn’t have a ton of mileage. He represents a key offensive presence for this Sharks team, with his 31 points finishing tied for third on the team in 2013. He posted 16 goals on the year as well, which also ranked third on the club.
Prior to the lockout shortened season, Pavelski’s last four years had featured two 50-point campaigns, followed by two 60-point campaigns. His 2011-12 season was particularly impressive, as he finished the year with 31 goals, which was tied with Couture for the most on the team.
Pavelski is obviously deserving of an extension, but at what cost? Will the Sharks try and sign him to a maximum length deal like others have seen recently? It’s possible. As far as the money is concerned, his cap hit won’t go up too much from the $4 million he’s currently making, but it will rise.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Sharks approach this. Do they try and get him locked up before the season starts? Do they do it in season? Or do they let him roll into next summer as a UFA and try and sign him before the market opens up. This is a situation to keep an eye on moving forward.