Joe Pavelski has served as the captain of the San Jose Sharks the past four seasons and is one of the most recognizable American hockey players. The Sharks just gave Erik Karlsson a humongous contract worth 92 million dollars, and they’re now having trouble paying all of their UFA’s and RFA’s. Pavelski is thirty-four years old, so it’s understandable as to why he’s not the most critical player that the Sharks have to re-sign. The New York Islanders are having trouble acquiring more top-6 talent and are also in tough negotiations with their captain, Anders Lee. With each day, it is becoming more and more unlikely that the Islanders will re-sign Lee. Why not sign another captain to fill in the role that Lee would leave behind?
Joe Pavelski is not the most flashy player. Despite this, he goes to the dirtier areas of the ice and makes his presence felt in front of the net. With most players that use this style of play, they have a sharp drop off with age. However, Pavelski’s point production has not dipped as he has continued to age, he even tied his second-most goals mark in a season this past year. Pavelski is deadly on the powerplay; he would be able to come in and help out the PP unit that was one of the worst in the league last season. You know what you’re getting with Joe Pavelski, a consistent mid-60 point center. I know what you’re thinking, “Joe Pavelski is a center. We just signed Brock Nelson to a large extension, why do we need another center?” Pavelski has played on the wing for a good portion of his career and has more impressive numbers than Anders.
The primary reason why the Islanders have not re-signed Anders Lee is due to contract term. It appears as if Lee’s management wants a seven or eight- year deal and Lou Lamoriello is only willing to give Lee a contract for around five years. There is a considerable amount of risk in giving a large contract to a player that does not play well long-term. Joe Pavelski will not earn a contract with more than three years in length. Therefore, the Islanders won’t have to make a considerable commitment into signing him. Also, Lee will probably make more money than Pavelski next season because of his age. Therefore, the Islanders will most likely save money by opting for the Sharks captain.
Anders Lee’s most significant attribute is that of his leadership. After a tumultuous offseason last summer, Lee was rewarded with the “C” because of his leadership skills. Lee was able to galvanize the Islanders squad, and the players all played for one another. If the Isles lose Anders Lee, they’ll need to bring another voice into the locker room that can keep the winning culture alive. Joe Pavelski is one of the best leaders in the NHL, captaining the San Jose Sharks and Team USA. If you want someone that can help build a winning culture, Pavelski is your guy.
Some Islander fans may be wary of signing Joe Pavelski because he’s 34 years old and they’re reminded of what happened with Patrick Marleau and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Marleau signed his contract with Toronto at 37, and his production was dropping steadily. Pavelski has been proven to be more consistent than Marleau at an older age, and if he does earn a 3-year contract, the deal will expire right when Marleau began to show his wear in the NHL.
The New York Islanders are trying to go big game hunting this offseason. Joe Pavelski does not come with many risks and would instantly improve the Islanders roster. Signing Pavelski would be a massive and wise addition to the Islanders.