Joe Pavelski reportedly has settled on a new home.

The Sharks captain will become an unrestricted free agent when NHL free agency begins Monday at 9 a.m. PT, and the 34-year-old is expected to sign a three-year contract with the Dallas Stars at that time, according to multiple reports.

Pavelski led the Sharks with 38 goals last season, matching the second-highest total of his career. He played through multiple injuries during the Stanley Cup playoffs, dramatically scoring a goal in his return to San Jose's lineup in Game 7 of the second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche.

Pavelski needed to be helped to the Sharks' locker room after hitting his head on the ice following an awkward collision with Vegas Golden Knights forwards Paul Stastny and Cody Eakin in Game 7 of San Jose's first-round series, and he missed Game 6 of the Western Conference final after aggravating a regular-season knee injury in Game 5 against the St. Louis Blues.

The Sharks cleared salary-cap space after trading defenseman Justin Braun to the Philadelphia Flyers, but they still didn't have much space after signing defenseman Erik Karlsson to an eight-year contract. San Jose has just over $14.8 million in room under the cap, according to Cap Friendly, with young wingers Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc set to become restricted free agents Monday. With just seven forwards under contract, signing Pavelski to the reported average annual value would have left the Sharks with just under $8 million in cap space to fill out the rest of their roster.


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As a result, Pavelski's agent, Dan Plante, told The Athletic and The Mercury News on Friday that a return to the Sharks looked unlikely. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday that Pavelski had "initiated talks" with the Stars.

Pavelski has played all 963 games and scored all 761 points (355 goals, 406 assists) of his NHL career with the Sharks, and has been the team's captain since the start of the 2015-16 season. If the veteran forward indeed signs with the Stars, he wouldn't return to San Jose as an opponent until Jan. 11.