It is never a comfortable situation when a captain in the National Hockey League hits unrestricted free agency, and it appears that this will very much be the case for the San Jose Sharks this time around.
The Sharks and Sharks general manager Doug Wilson pulled off a gigantic move during the offseason when they signed superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson to a long term deal, but that contract does not come without significant headaches. The Sharks made Karlsson one of the richest players in the National Hockey League and that has created a serious log jam on their roster as it pertains to the NHL's salary cap. We have already seen Justin Braun shipped out of town in a trade deal that was clearly design to create space, and now it sounds like Sharks captain Joe Pavelski might be the next domino to fall.
Pavelski is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st and, although there has been a belief that Pavelski would prefer to remain a Shark, the Sharks captain is already exercising his options to the fullest. Although the Pavelski camp has not been talking at all regarding the process, TSN National Hockey League insider Pierre LeBrun has tapped into his sources around the league and has been able to obtain some information regarding where Pavelski may be going during the unrestricted free agency interview period.
It’s really all wide-open right now as far as how it plays out between now and next Monday’s opening of free agency.
Nobody involved would comment on which teams have shown the most interest in Pavelski but other leagues sources suggest he may visit Dallas and Tampa this week.
To see Pavelski go to a Western Conference rival or what is still arguably one of the very best teams in the entire league would be a scary shot for the Sharks who could potentially clash with their former captain in the playoffs. Pavelski, the Sharks leading scorer last season with 38 goals, admitted that there is a lot of doubt regarding his future right now.
“Yeah we’ll see how that goes,’’ Pavelski said as per LeBrun. “Maybe I come back. I don’t know.’’
This late in the process, it seems like there is a good chance the Sharks could see their captain walk away this summer.