Peter DeBoer, Sharks players describe what Joe Pavelski meant to them

Peter DeBoer, Sharks players describe what Joe Pavelski meant to them

SAN JOSE -- When the Sharks take the ice Friday, it will mark their first training camp without Joe Pavelski, who signed with the Dallas Stars this offseason after 13 seasons in teal.

So, we asked his former Sharks teammates to finish this sentence: Joe Pavelski was …

Logan Couture

“Heart and soul. Amazing person, not just a hockey player. He was very special to a lot of guys in the room, and he’ll be missed.”

Peter DeBoer

“A warrior. There’s a guy, not the biggest, not the fastest. But fearless. A leader, and he’ll be greatly missed in the room, on the ice but personally, too. Him and his family, just infectious personalities. We’ve got to find a way to replace some of that.”

Martin Jones

“A great leader, a great teammate. One of those guys that he’s real easy to follow going into the hard areas of the ice. You see the grit he plays with. He’s inspiring.”

Joe Thornton

“The best. I love the guy. He’s meant so much to this organization for over 10 years now. A big part of this group, and we’re going to miss him definitely.”

Brent Burns

“The ultimate professional. When you look at him, broke him down, he wasn’t the fastest skater, didn’t have the hardest shot, he was just smart. He just did everything right. A great guy off the ice, and [an] unbelievable hockey player.”

Timo Meier

“A huge impact for me. Learned a lot from him, not just on the ice but off the ice, too. He’s a guy that when I first came in, guided me and showed me the right attitude, the right habits. Just a guy you can rely on in every kind of moment.”

[RELATED: Couture named new Sharks captain]

Erik Karlsson

“An important character. During the period of time, he was the culture here. He knew what needed to be done, and he’d seen things that guys except Thornton and [Marc-Edouard] Vlasic hadn’t. He was vital to keeping things the right way.”

How Sharks can benefit from Erik Karlsson injury at NHL trade deadline

How Sharks can benefit from Erik Karlsson injury at NHL trade deadline

The Sharks undoubtedly would prefer if both players were healthy, but San Jose can take advantage of Tomas Hertl and Erik Karlsson's season-ending injuries. 

Hertl already is on long-term injured reserve after tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee last month, and Karlsson should soon join him after breaking his thumb. That puts the Sharks in a unique position heading into the trade deadline, as the fine folks at Cap Friendly observed Saturday. 

The Sharks were 11 points back of the Western Conference's final wild-card spot as of this writing, with four teams between them and the Arizona Coyotes. San Jose also doesn't own a 2020 first-round pick as a condition of the Erik Karlsson trade, and its prospect pool is considered to be one of the weakest in the NHL. It would make a lot of sense, then, for the Sharks to take on -- or retain -- salary in exchange for prospects and/or picks. 

There are a host of playoff contenders lacking salary-cap space, as Cap Friendly noted. The Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames all currently have fewer than $3 million in space, per Cap Friendly. Trading with a Pacific Division rival might prove difficult, but Sharks general manager Doug Wilson should be able to field calls from the likes of the Florida Panthers ($141,250 in current space), Philadelphia Flyers ($2.08 million), Washington Capitals ($2.45 million), Dallas Stars ($2.93 million), Boston Bruins ($3.12 million) and Pittsburgh Penguins ($3.51 million), among others. 

Finding a contract is another matter entirely. The Stars could trade injured center Martin Hanzal, but he already is on LTIR. It's difficult to envision the Panthers trading pending free-agent winger Mike Hoffman or the Capitals dealing soon-to-be free-agent goalie Braden Holtby for salary relief, let alone when you consider both players' trade protection (and Hoffman's history with Erik Karlsson).

The Bruins would love to trade David Backes, but he won't become a free agent until 2022 and can't be placed on LTIR after Bruins general manager Don Sweeney admitted Backes was "fit and able to play" after being waived. Wilson said he wants the Sharks to contend in 2021, and they can't afford to have another $5 million against the cap considering how many players have signed long-term contracts in the last few years. 

[RELATED: Why Hannan sees silver lining in Karlsson injury for Sharks]

Retaining salary seems to be a likelier option. The Sharks' pending free agents all have manageable contracts, but defenseman Brenden Dillon -- rumored to be one of the top blue liners available -- could be more appealing if teams aren't taking on all $3.275 million of his salary-cap hit. 

The trade deadline now is just over a week away, and the Sharks probably won't be buyers as a result of Hertl and Karlsson's injuries. They'll still be in an advantageous position, however, and Wilson has a chance to start re-stocking San Jose's pool of prospects and draft picks. 

Sharks' Erik Karlsson to undergo season-ending thumb surgery Monday

Sharks' Erik Karlsson to undergo season-ending thumb surgery Monday

Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson will undergo season-ending thumb surgery on Monday in Los Angeles, he told reporters Sunday. 

Dr. Steven Shin will operate on Karlsson's broken thumb. Shin also operated on Warriors star Steph Curry and New Orleans Saints star Drew Brees in the past. 

Karlsson broke his thumb Friday in the Sharks' 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair first reported the news Saturday. It was later confirmed by the team. 

The 29-year-old told reporters Sunday that he injured his thumb when he was hit with a slap shot, not from falling over teammate Joe Thornton. He said the initial X-rays didn't show anything complicated. 

[RELATED: Karlsson injury creates opportunity for Sharks' depth]

Karlsson has scored 40 points -- six goals, 34 assists -- this season in 56 games. His 5.0 shooting percentage is his best since the 2016-17 season, but Karlsson's minus-15 plus-minus is his the third-worst of his 11-year career.

The Sharks re-signed Karlsson to a massive eight-year, $92 million contract last June. Since acquiring him from the Ottawa Senators before last season, Karlsson has scored 85 points -- nine goals, 76 assists -- in 109 regular-season games.