Joe Pavelski has seen a number of teammates play through their expiring contracts and not let it affect them. Joe Thornton has done it twice in the last two seasons, while Patrick Marleau did it recently as well, although he opted to find a new home.
Now the San Jose Sharks’ center is in the exact same situation, explains Kevin Kurz of The Athletic (subscription required). The 34-year-old Pavelski is in the final year of a five-year, $30MM contract and so far, there have been no talks of an extension with the long-time Sharks’ veteran. Just like Thornton and Marleau at the time, the lack of a deal isn’t affecting Pavelski’s play as he’s put up 11 goals so far this season, which is already half way to the 22 goals he scored last year.
“(Thornton and Marleau) handled it different times throughout their careers, and they’ve handled it well,’ Pavelski said earlier this week. “Obviously, you probably understand some of the things that they’ve gone through in the past a little bit better. But they’ve never taken away from the group. It’s never been a distraction. You just respect them as people for how they want to contribute to the group.”
- The Vegas Golden Knights should get a defensive boost Sunday night when No. 1 defenseman Nate Schmidt returns to the team after sitting out with a 20-game suspension. However, Adam Hill of The Las Vegas Review-Journal writes that the return of Schmidt won’t be some magic elixir, however, for a struggling Vegas team that sits at 8-11-1 this season. However, Schmidt should help the team out in two key areas, offense and defense. “He’s one of our best players so he’s going to make a difference all over the ice — I hope,” head coach Gerard Gallant said. “Always a solid guy, moves the puck, skates well. You know what kind of player he is and he’s a big part of our group, so hopefully he’s going to make a big difference.”
- With an 8-9-4 record, many people wouldn’t be surprised if the Anaheim Ducks chose to make a coaching change and move on from head coach Randy Carlyle. However, while that thought is apparent in the Ducks’ locker room, Carlyle isn’t worrying about his job. “We’re at the 20-game mark and we said that you do an evaluation of where you’re at with our group. We’ve been inconsistent and nobody’s going to be here waving the banners but we have some positives within that group too,” Carlyle said. “We have some players that have never played before now (and) have some NHL games and NHL experience. We’re not that far away from the pack. We’re still hanging around. The key is now is to stay with the pack until we can get our group playing at a higher level and having some personnel back that we can grow our group as a team. We haven’t created an identity for our hockey club yet, and that’s been the most frustrating part for us.”
- Mike Halford of The Athletic (subscription required) looks at the play of defenseman Olli Juolevi, who has been putting up quite a few points in his first season with the Utica Comets of the AHL, and wonders when the Canucks may be ready to bring the prospect up to the NHL squad. So far, Juolevi has 13 points in 16 games and the Canucks, who lack any offensive weapons on defense, could really use one for a team that has fared quite well so far this season with a 10-9-2 record so far. However, defense is also an issue as the 20-year-old sports a minus-11. Utica assistant coach Gary Agnew admits that he needs time to develop his game still. “Certainly he’s not fully responsible for all those minuses, Agnew said. “But when there’s a little bit of a trend, there’s a trend. Obviously it’s a part of the game that we’re working hard with him at, and he’s very receptive to coaching. He’s eager to learn and he wants to be better. He’s doing all the things that you hope a high prospect does, in terms of his coachability.”