Well this is certainly not something that you see every day in the National Hockey League.
Usually a player that wears the "C" on his chest, designating him as the captain of his team, is among the most well respected and most valued players a franchise will have. Captains are selected by the team's themselves so there can be no question that the team values the player wearing the "C" and for that reason it is somewhat rare to see an NHL captain simply walk away from his team as a free agent. Of course we have had some recent examples like John Tavares abandoning the New York Islanders to join his childhood team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, but this situation is a little different.
According to a rather surprising report form San Jose Sharks insider Kevin Kurz of The Athletic it now appears that the Sharks and their captain, veteran forward Joe Pavelski, will be parting ways this summer. Although everyone has been looking at the Sharks since they signed star defenseman Erik Karlsson and openly wondering how they would fit all their players under the cap, I doubt many truly had accepted the fact that Pavelski could be among the casualties this summer. I can see why the Sharks would choose not to re-sign a 34 year old player given the fact that players tend to decline by that age, but Pavelski has remained a warrior for that organization.
Kurz expects that Pavelski's camp will receive a high volume of calls tomorrow when the free agent negotiation window opens up, allowing teams to speak to players before they can be signed on July 1st, and that will likely only further drive up the price on Pavelski. If you're a fan of both Pavelski and the Sharks that is very bad news indeed as according to Kurz, as he is reporting that both sides remain very far apart in negotiations. In fact Kurz has gone on the record to say that Pavelski and the Sharks "aren’t even close right now."
So where is Pavelski at in his career at 34 years of age? He was the Sharks leading scorer last season with 38 goals and added 26 assists for a total of 64 points over 75 games played. In spite of his lofty numbers however he finished with a plus minis rating of -4 on the season, although I would expect that teams interested in him will be more interested in his goal scoring.
It would truly be a stunning way to end an era in San Jose, a move made all the more baffling when you remember that the Sharks stripped Joe Thornton of the "C" amid a great deal of controversy to give it to Pavelski in the first place.
Photo Credit: Keystone Press