Remarkable nature of Pavelski's career creates unrealistic expectations for Sharks captain

Remarkable nature of Pavelski's career creates unrealistic expectations for Sharks captain

Joe Pavelski’s 300th career goal was a neat encapsulation of his career.

Yes, he benefitted from some good fortune, as the puck took a fortuitous bounce off of a couple Panthers out to him in front of the net. But Pavelski put himself in a position to succeed, gaining inside position while somehow skating under the radar of Florida’s defense, despite having 299 goals to his name at the point.  

He flew under the radar throughout his draft in 2003, just as he has his whole career. Pavelski led the USHL with 36 goals during his draft year, but was passed over 204 times before the Sharks selected him in the seventh round.

The Wisconsin native has scored more goals than all but five of the players drafted ahead of him, and more points than all but seven. Of the top 10 2003 draftees in goals, assists, and points, Pavelski’s the only player that was drafted outside of the first two rounds.

Players drafted in Pavelski’s position have an 8.2 percent chance of playing at least 100 NHL games, TSN’s Scott Cullen found. Playing eight times as many games, and scoring as many goals, is simply extraordinary.

He’s beaten the odds throughout his career, and the Sharks are still relying on him to do so.

Pavelski, 34, is far past the age when forwards first tend to decline. Eric Tulsky, who’s now the Carolina Hurricanes’ Manager of Analytics, found that, on average, forwards retain about 70 percent of their scoring in their age 32-33 seasons, and only 60 percent by the time they’re 35.

Right now, Pavelski’s on pace to score 44 points, or about 56 percent of his career-best offensive season (79 points). Part of that decline is undoubtedly due to injury, as the Sharks captain has played hurt for much of the season.

Injury, however, can only explain so much, given the physical punishment he takes on a near-nightly basis, and his well-established skating limitations. He won’t shoot under eight percent the rest of the season, his lowest mark since 2011, but he’s at the point in his career where diminishing returns should not come as a surprise.

Perhaps Pavelski will be able to fight off the effects of age, just as he’s overcome every other obstacle put in his path to this point. Betting against him has proven to be a fool’s errand.

But when beating the odds becomes an expectation, it’s then too easy to lose sight of just how remarkable Pavelski’s career has been so far, and to set the bar too high.

Sharks hang on to beat Blues and open road trip with win


Sharks hang on to beat Blues and open road trip with win


ST. LOUIS -- Logan Couture and Mikkel Boedker each had a goal and an assist, sending the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the slumping St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.

Joonas Donskoi also scored and Martin Jones made 30 saves for San Jose, which has won five of its last six games.

Ivan Barbashev and Vladimir Tarasenko had the goals for the Blues, who have lost a season-high four straight.

After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for five goals in the second.

San Jose took a 1-0 lead when Couture knocked in a loose puck at 6:35. Boedker fired in a shot from the point that goalie Carter Hutton blocked but couldn't corral. Couture was on the spot and scored his 24th of the season.

St. Louis answered at 8:23 when Barbashev scored on a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that sailed over Jones' arm.

Donskoi beat Hutton on a wrist shot from the left circle at 12:05. Couture assisted on Donskoi's first goal in 17 games.

Boedker gave San Jose a 3-1 lead at 15:54 when he scored from the left side of the net. Boedker has five goals in his last four games.

Tarasenko cut the margin to 3-2 on a power play when he fired in the rebound of a shot by Vince Dunn at 19:36 for his 24th of the season. Tarasenko has 10 points in his last nine games (four goals, six assists) against the Sharks.

San Jose's Brent Burns prevented a goal with less than five minutes left. During a scramble in front of the net, the puck hit the post and was sliding along the goal line when Burns knocked it out.

This was the first meeting between St. Louis and San Jose this season. The Blues swept the three-game season series last year, outscoring the Sharks 11-3 overall, and had won four straight against the Sharks.

Hutton made his second start in the last five games and stopped 20 shots. Previously against the Sharks, he was 4-0-1 with a 0.98 goals-against average, a .968 save percentage and two shutouts in five career starts.

NOTES: The Sharks acquired C Eric Fehr from Toronto for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 draft. ... Blues C Vladimir Sobotka was out of the lineup with an illness. It was the first game he has missed this season. ... The Blues have recalled forward Sammy Blais from the AHL for the fourth time this season. Blais, who leads the San Antonio Rampage with 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists), last played for St. Louis on Dec. 16, when he got hurt against Winnipeg. ... San Jose forward Tomas Hertl missed another game with an upper-body injury.


Sharks: At the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Blues: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

Sharks pick up first win of homestand as Burns moves back to blueline


Sharks pick up first win of homestand as Burns moves back to blueline


SAN JOSE --Brent Burns and Chris Tierney each had a goal and an assist, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Thursday for their third win in four games.

Mikkel Boedker and Marcus Sorensen also scored for the Sharks, who improved to 3-0-1 against the Canucks this season. Martin Jones stopped 29 shots.

Daniel Sedin scored for the Canucks, who lost their sixth in seven games. Anders Nilsson made 40 stops.

Boedker scored at 8:41 of the first period, picking up a soft rebound from Tierney's shot.

Burns scored his 10th goal, tops among NHL defensemen, taking a pass from Joakim Ryan and sending a laser shot into the net just under five minutes into the second.

Sorensen scored his first goal since Dec. 23, punching it in with an assist from Justin Braun at 3:06 into the third. Marc-Edouard Vlasic had an assist in his third straight game, getting the second assist on Sorensen's goal.

Sedin scored at 6:43, taking a nice pass from Thomas Vanek that gave him clear shot into the net. It was Sedin's 14th goal, one shy of his total last season.

Tierney made it 4-1 after taking a nice pass from Burns with 7 1/2 minutes remaining.

NOTES:Tim Heed was recalled from the AHL and joined a makeshift Sharks lineup, allowing Burns to play up front at times. ... Sharks C Logan Couture has points in four of his last five games. ... Boedker recorded games in consecutive games for the second time this season, and the first since Jan. 15-16. ... Sedin has five points against the Sharks this season and 45 in 69 games. He's recorded points in three straight.


Canucks: Host Boston on Saturday.

Sharks: Host Dallas on Sunday.