With Logan Couture’s massive contract extension out of the way, the spotlight now shines on the next piece in the future of the San Jose Sharks offense: Joe Pavelski.
The 28-year-old is expected to be next on the list of players the Sharks need to re-sign this offseason, especially since his contract is up after 2014—the same time as veterans Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle. San Jose would presumably like to take care of Pavelski’s contract extension before the 2013 season begins.
How much is too much, though?
The Sharks reportedly do not have much cap room to begin with, per the San Jose Mercury News’ Curtis Pashelka, especially with the long-term deal owed to Couture and the potential re-signings of Thornton, Marleau and Boyle after the 2013-14 season.
Although re-signing the three veterans will depend on how the team does during the upcoming season, there are moderate expectations that at least Thornton and Marleau will return on short-term deals.
Pavelski is the new priority No. 1 for this offseason, though. Although he is not a go-to scorer on the current roster, his knack for timely goals and consistent production on the ice is enough for the Sharks to fully invest in him alongside Couture and Brent Burns for the future.
There is the issue of money, which is likely a reason why the Sharks and Pavelski have not come to an agreement nearly four weeks after word of Couture’s five-year, $30 million extension made the rounds. Pavelski is young and entering the prime of his career, but a secondary scorer looking for nearly $6 million per year is almost out of the question.
Pavelski tallied 16 goals and 15 assists in the lockout-shortened season.
If Couture’s contract extension is the bar, Pavelski is a notch below it.
Pavelski will get paid $4 million in 2013, and he is likely looking for a contract between that number and Couture’s $6 million per year. The Sharks are likely looking for an extension in the same ballpark and for the same number of years as Couture. Clearly, San Jose’s goal is to have Burns, Couture, Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic locked up until at least 2017-18. Locking up Pavelski would get that out of the way rather early in the offseason.
While Couture single-handedly enhanced his role on the Sharks this past season as a reliable scorer, playmaker and leader, Pavelski is his right-hand man of the future—or at least part of a slew of players looking to assume that role.
Pavelski does not have the credentials to earn $6 million per year, which appears to be the bar set for the future of the Sharks franchise, but he is young enough and reliable enough to fetch a lengthy contract extension in the near future.
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