- Five-time 30 goal scorer Joe Pavelski is an unrestricted free agent
- Which teams in play have the most cap space?
- The most likely landing spot for the Sharks captain
The NHL’s annual free agent frenzy is set to kick off Monday, July 1st. There will certainly be a flurry of action and several players changing teams, which often causes some teams to suffer buyer’s remorse.
One key UFA who likely won’t fit into that category is San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, who has been with the organization since being drafted in the seventh round in 2003. While San Jose is the odds-on favorite to retain their leader, a couple of other teams are sniffing around the highly sought after Sharks center.
Joe Pavelski Free Agency Odds
|Where Will Joe Pavelski Play Game 1 of 2019-20 NHL Season?||Odds at Bovada|
|San Jose Sharks||-180|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+425|
*Odds taken 06/27/19
Joe Pavelski Had a Fantastic Contract Year
Most players who will be turning 35 years old 10 days after free agency begins would find a tough time finding several dance partners – but Joe Pavelski is not most players.
"He's a really hard guy to replace, borderline irreplaceable."
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) June 22, 2019
Pavelski tied his second best goal output of his career last season despite missing seven games. He’s been remarkably durable, save for the head injury in the postseason, missing just one regular season game in his last seven campaigns before this year.
Joe Pavelski’s Highest Goal Outputs
Scratch the Lightning Off Potential Destinations
While the rich would love to get richer, Tampa Bay will almost certainly find it too difficult to match the large contract Pavelski is seeking, in particular the term because they have expensive free agents to sign coming up.
On some levels I understand the Lightning meeting with Joe Pavelski. At least exploring the options there. But I'm having somewhat of a hard time to see the salary cap fitting, unless the Lightning end up trading Yanni Gourde to make room.
— GeoFitz (@GeoFitz4) June 27, 2019
The Lightning need to work out a deal for Brayden Point, who won’t come cheap, and then next year have goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev up for new contracts which further complicates the prospect of signing Pavelski. While they’ve made bold moves in the past, this one will likely be too difficult to pull off.
2019-20 Projected Salary Cap Space
|San Jose Sharks||$14.8 M|
|Dallas Stars||$10.9 M|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||$10.6 M|
|Montreal Canadiens||$8.7 M|
Dallas Stars Make Strong Case for Pavelski
As the odds suggest, Dallas makes the most sense should Pavelski leave the only NHL organization he’s ever known because they’ve rid themselves of the brutal Jason Spezza $7.5 million contract. They won’t need to pay young studs for a couple of seasons and are in win-now mode. But do they really offer the best chance to win the Cup over San Jose?
Bank on a Pavelski Return to San Jose
There’s just something to be said for familiarity and finishing off a job that the Sharks have come oh-so-close to doing in recent seasons. Pavelski has played for the team for 13 seasons, is the team leader and captain, is still playing at a high level, and there’s an appetite from the team to bring him back. Count on the Sharks getting his signature on a new contract.
Pick: San Jose Sharks (-180)
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