Dallas Stars

Why Peter DeBoer is confident Sharks can fill Joe Pavelski's scoring void

Why Peter DeBoer is confident Sharks can fill Joe Pavelski's scoring void

Joe Pavelski led the Sharks with 38 goals last season. That's 38 goals that now reside with the Dallas Stars.

It's not as if San Jose lacked for goal scoring this past year, having ranked second in the league with an average of 3.52 goals per game during the regular season. However, no Sharks player found the back of the net more often than Pavelski, meaning that if the Sharks are going to maintain or even surpass that offensive output next season, they're going to have to find those 38 goals elsewhere.

San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer touched on that very subject in a recent interview with NHL.com's Mike Zeisberger, in which he insisted that Pavelski's character will be tougher to replace than his goal-scoring.

"Look, it's hard to replace Pav's 38 goals," DeBoer conceded. "We scored a lot of goals last year and if we score a little bit less I don't think it will kill us. At least I hope it doesn't. The goals are one thing, but it's the leadership, the presence, the message that he would convey in the dressing room when times were tough. Those are the things that are harder to replace than his goals."

Part of the reason DeBoer is confident his team can adequately fill Pavelski's scoring void is due to the continued progression he's expecting from young players already on the roster.

"We've got to continue to hope that guys like Timo Meier can build on the season he had last year," DeBoer said. "Kevin Labanc too. I think Doug [Wilson] has done a great job of setting us up with young players in the pipeline we feel can create some offense."

Additionally, after Erik Karlsson was banged up throughout much of his debut season with the Sharks, DeBoer is hopeful the former Norris Trophy winner can have an even greater offensive impact moving forward after signing an eight-year contract in the offseason.

"When we had the opportunity to acquire Erik Karlsson last summer there was no hesitation in anyone's opinion to go forward on the possibility of doing that," DeBoer insisted. "Those are generational-type players and they rarely become available, if at all. It was a no-brainer to trade for him and it was a no-brainer to sign him. 

[RELATED: Why DeBoer credits Thornton for Sharks' historic power play]

"He's going to be a huge part of what we're doing going forward," DeBoer continued. "You take out Pavelski but you add Karlsson and some young guys. … The game might change in how we create and how we do things but I think he's going to have a big impact. The two months he was healthy he controlled a lot of the games we played. We just need to get him healthy so he can have a full healthy year to get into rhythm."

The Sharks are going to feel Pavelski's departure in more ways than one. Yes, his 355 goals rank second all-time in franchise history, but he brought so much more to the table than simply the ability to put the biscuit in the basket. However, if Karlsson, Meier, Labanc and others can combine to fill his resulting scoring void, Pavelski's absence won't be nearly as noticeable.

Former Shark Joe Pavelski greets new teammate Tyler Seguin in Lake Tahoe

pavelskiap.jpg
AP

Former Shark Joe Pavelski greets new teammate Tyler Seguin in Lake Tahoe

Apparently the term "too soon" is about to be thrown out the window right now. That's because Joe Pavelski was spotted hanging out with his new Dallas Stars teammate, Tyler Seguin.

The two are participating in the American Century Championship golf tournament up in Lake Tahoe this weekend and seem to be getting along swimmingly.

Pavelski recently signed with the Stars on a three-year deal after spending 13 seasons with the Sharks.

Like I said, too soon.

It wasn't a bad breakup by any means. Pavs wrote a heartfelt goodbye letter thanking the organization, fans and the city of San Jose.  It wasn't easy on him to leave the only organization he's ever known.

[RELATED: Pavelski selling SJ mansion for $3.6 million]

"Oh yeah it was tough," Pavelski told NBC Sports Bay Area Wednesday. "I don’t want to say it was harder than I thought it was going to be because I knew it was going to be hard once we got to that state and started looking at different teams and understanding that it was a real possibility that we should be prepared in case it gets there."

He said he would miss every part about being a member of the Sharks, but he looks back on his moments and is proud of what he and the team accomplished. And he has no regrets, which is the perfect way to start his next stint in the Big D.

Joe Pavelski reflects on decision to leave Sharks, time in San Jose

Joe Pavelski reflects on decision to leave Sharks, time in San Jose

Joe Pavelski knew leaving San Jose was a possibility, but that didn't make his decision to leave the Bay Area any easier.

The former Sharks captain chose to sign with the Dallas Stars when NHL free agency opened, ending a 13-year run in the Bay Area.

As Pavelski prepares to depart California for Texas, he admits the decision to leave the only organization he's known was emotional, but he only has good things to say about his former organization.

"Oh yeah it was tough," Pavelski told NBC Sports Bay Area. "I don’t want to say it was harder than I thought it was going to be because I knew it was going to be hard once we got to that state and started looking at different teams and understanding that it was a real possibility that we should be prepared in case it gets there.

"I’ve only got good things to say about San Jose and the organization there," Pavelski continued. "The way the guys have treated me and the teammates that I’ve had that are still there. It was tough to leave. You don’t stay somewhere for 13 years and not grow attached to it. I’ve just got some tremendous friendships there and you know it’s not really goodbye it’s more of a thank you to the fans and everyone that was involved and helped turn me into the player and person I am today. Those decisions never come lightly and it wasn’t easy."

Pavelski leaves the Sharks having played the fourth-most games (963), scored the second-most goals (355), notched the third-most assists (406) and third-most points (761) in franchise history.

Despite all the goals and accolades, Pavelski couldn't pinpoint one thing he was going to miss about playing for the Sharks.

"Just the relationships," Pavelski said. "At the end of the day, being able to drive to the rink in San Jose, pulling up to the SAP Center knowing that the crowd was going to be out there excited, it’s just a special place to play, it was a bond that I really felt close to my heart with San Jose, just with the fans and scoring goals and celebrating and just wanting to play for the city and compete.

"It’s hard to pick one thing that I’m going to miss about it. I’m going to miss it all. But at the end of the night being out there on the ice and trying to win games for them and for the team, it was just a special place for 13 years."

[RELATED: Labanc expecting bigger role for Sharks in 2019-20]

Pavelski and the Sharks never were able to bring home the Stanley Cup during his time in San Jose. The 34-year-old laments not winning it all with the Sharks, but he doesn't have any regrets about his time in the Bay.

"Looking back we are proud of what we accomplished," Pavelski said. "We were always right there and definitely disappointed we never got over the final hump. We had some good opportunities. You always want a little bit more and you always wish you could have did something different, but you know looking back we don’t really have any regrets. we laid it all on the line and played hard. We didn’t get the bounce or make the play we needed but it was a fun ride we had."

The Sharks now will look for bigger contributions from Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and other young Sharks to fill the void left by Pavelski.

Pavelski will make his return to SAP Center on Jan. 11, 2020 to what is sure to be a rousing ovation.