SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski has been named the ninth full-time captain in Sharks franchise history, head coach Pete DeBoer announced on Monday.
Joe Thornton and Logan Couture are the alternates.
The move is somewhat expected in that Pavelski was far and away the most logical choice to assume the captaincy ever since the club stripped Joe Thornton of the ‘C’ last August.
Throughout the tumultuous 2014-15 season, Pavelski took over duties as the primary team spokesman after the Sharks altered their leadership structure. Although he was never officially named captain, the internal feeling within the organization was that Pavelski was next in line.
Still, DeBeor, who replaced Todd McLellan in May, offered little insight as to whom he would ultimately choose after letting it be known to CSNBayArea.com in June that a captain would be in place by opening night. The new coach was critical of the team’s leadership structure last season when the Sharks had four alternates but no captain, calling it a “distraction.”
Pavelski, Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic acted as alternates last season, with three of them wearing an ‘A’ on a rotating basis.
The Sharks are in a truly unique situation in that Pavelski assumes the captaincy with two former captains of the club still in the dressing room. Thornton was captain from 2010-14, while Marleau served from 2003-09 before Rob Blake replaced him for one season.
Pavelski, 31, led the Sharks in points (70) and goals (37) last season, including 19 on the power play. He is third in franchise scoring with 485 points, and is second in Sharks history with 228 goals.
Over the last five seasons, only three NHL players have more goals than the Plover, Wisconsin native’s 161: Alex Ovechkin (206), Steven Stamkos (202) and Corey Perry (178).
Pavelski is signed for the next four seasons with a salary cap hit of $6 million. The Sharks originally drafted him in the 7th round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (205 overall).