NHL Trade Rumors: Sharks Would Be Ill Advised to Move Joe Pavelski

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIFebruary 2, 2012

VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 21: Joe Pavelski #8 of the San Jose Sharks chases after the puck during NHL action against the Vancouver Canucks on January 21, 2012 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

The San Jose Sharks' Stanley Cup plans for 2012 and beyond must include Joe Pavelski.

The 27-year-old has netted 20 goals for the Sharks in each of the last four seasons. He is currently at 18 and could easily surpass his career high of 25. There are no signs of slowing down. 

So, while Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area listed a group of potential trade options for the Sharks that included Corey Perry, Derek Roy, Brendan Morrow, Ales Hemsky, Patrik Elias, Zach Parise, Jarome Iginla and Shane Doan, he also said something a little disconcerting for fans of the Sharks. 

Of the 10 core Sharks, the one that Doug Wilson would have to put in such a deal is almost certainly Joe Pavelski, because you can't put Thomas Greiss, Jason Demers and two draft picks and pile them high enough to make any of the above five.

The three he is eliminating are Hemsky, Parise and Doan, all free agents. But the other five players are all also free agents at the end of the 2012-2013 season. That means that giving up a young player of Pavelski's caliber for what will basically be a rental player is not worth it. 

Ratto also details one other problem with moving Pavelski. The window of time with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle is closing. San Jose will have at best two seasons of Stanley Cup contention with that group. 

While you could possibly take that argument and say that it's a reason to sell out and win now, there is another way of looking at it. When the current leadership group of the Sharks gets old and either loses effectiveness or has to retire, they will need to develop around their younger stars. Pavelski is one of them. 

Ratto also mentioned Tuomo Ruutu, Milan Hejduk of Colorado, Vinny Prospal, Michael Ryder, Ryan Smyth, Andrei Kostitsyn, Ryan Whitney, Dominic Moore and Andrew Ladd as players the Sharks could pursue without having to move Pavelski. 

Take a look at what those players have done this year.

  Goals   Assists
Tuomo Ruutu 15 11
Milan Hejduk 12 18
Vinny Prospal 9 22
Michael Ryder 18 17
Ryan Smyth 16 18
Andrei Kostitsyn    11 11
Ryan Whitney 0 4
Dominic Moore 4 15
Andrew Ladd 16 9

The Sharks have a strong team, but need a good second or third-line scorer. These are the kind of players they need to be pursuing. Any one of them would offer the Sharks the depth they need, while allowing them to keep Pavelski. 

There is no reason for them to unload Pavelski. Sure, he would bring them a great player, but his loss would also mean that the Sharks would lose a strong scorer. On balance, that isn't a good move. The Sharks need to hold him and explore players that aren't as sexy. That would give the team its best Stanley Cup hopes.