Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski sign 4-year contract extensions, lock up future of team until 2013-14
The San Jose Sharks locked in a sizeable chunk of their foreseeable future Thursday, re-signing former captain Patrick Marleau and potential future captain Joe Pavelski to 4-year contracts. Marleau, the franchise’s longest tenured player and a member of Team Canada’s Olympic “gold medal line” along with Thornton and Heatley, signed a 4-year, $27.6 million contract extension reportedly with a no-movement clause that could keep him in teal until 2013-14. Pavelski, a member of Team USA’s silver medal winning side at the Olympics, signed a 4-year $16 million contract extension.
“I am very happy to be coming back to San Jose, we love living here and playing here” Patrick Marleau said via a conference call. “One of the things I wanted to do right after the season was to try to work something out with San Jose. I am very happy with the way things turned out.”
It has been a little bit of an awkward season. The specter of unrestricted free agency loomed over Patrick Marleau and Evgeni Nabokov all year, but it took almost 4 months for the local media to put both on the record.”Right now the focus is on this team, on winning… right now I can’t really focus on that until the end of the season,” Marleau told television analyst Drew Remenda in January. Nabokov made similar statements to the Merc’s Mark Purdy shortly thereafter. In a market like Toronto, Vancouver, Philadelphia, New York or Boston, the fate of two of the team’s best players would be a weekly topic of discussion until resolution. In San Jose, fans were in the dark. Expectations centered around the camaraderie and talent inside the locker room, and the honesty and integrity of the front office and the organization.
As it turns out, there was uncertainty on Marleau’s side as well. “I think I always wanted to come back, there wasn’t any talk of anything else. I didn’t know how San Jose felt about things until after the season, and we started to have contract talks,” Marleau said in Thursday’s conference call. “All through the playoffs, I wasn’t sure whether I would be back for sure.”
It is a shocking sentiment to learn that Marleau was unsure whether or not he was wanted back. The franchise leader in nearly every offensive category, the NHL’s leading game winning playoff goal scorer since 2001, one of the most underrated defensive/2-way forwards in the league… San Jose should have an egg timer set to go off every 15 minutes in order to remind them to ask Marleau to play out his career in San Jose, a la Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman.
In his typical low-key fashion, Marleau played down that uncertainty. “It was just the way it is.” He added that his main goal was to win, not becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. “I think we have the team here to win. It works both ways, we help each other out, the organization and myself.”
Sharks center Joe Pavelski nearly put Team USA over the top in the Olympics, and he finished in a similar fashion this season for the San Jose Sharks. After signing a 4-year contract extention, Pavelski said he wanted to keep the team together and achieve more postseason success. “I have really enjoyed my time in San Jose, every year it seems to get a little better,” Pavelski said.
“A lot of the players are feeling the same way, they want to stay. They have been here for a long time… we want to accomplish the ultimate goal,” Pavelski added on Thursday’s conference call. “It will be fun to try to do it together.”
With the Sharks moving in a different direction from Evgeni Nabokov, next year’s lineup will have new challenges. “Every year there are changes, obviously Nabby has been the backstop back there for quite some time. It is really tough to see a player like that leave… I think everyone has a lot of respect for what he has sone.” Pavelski said. “Whatever happens, we have to get the job done.”
Pavelski said the contract negotiations came together fairly quickly, with both sides “wanting the same thing”. He mentioned that his 4 year, $16M contract fit into the salary structure of the team. He demured when asked about a “hometown discount” and salary comparison’s to Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler, and said this was a different team. “There are areas where you have to cut back in certain ways, if this was a little help then that is a good thing”.
[Update] Wilson Continues to Structure Sharks, Pavs & Patty’s contracts show their commitment to the system – SJsharks.com.