SAN JOSE SHARKS
Karlsson, Thornton, Pavelski Talk About Future With Sharks
The San Jose Sharks have another bittersweet off-season coming up. The team came the closest they’ve come to a Stanley Cup appearance since qualifying for the final in 2016.
General manager Doug Wilson is going to have tough decisions to make regarding Erik Karlsson, Joe Thornton, and Joe Pavelski with all three being unrestricted free agents. The trio spoke to the media on Thursday regarding their future with the team.
Karlsson, 28, was acquired by the Sharks via a trade in September. The move was a risky one with Karlsson’s contract up at the end of the season. Negotiations stalled during the regular season and now the Sharks risk losing the defenseman in free agency.
San Jose can obviously still re-sign Karlsson but would he be willing to stay with the Sharks?
“I haven’t really thought about any of that,” Karlsson said. “I’ve been treated with nothing but class and respect here. I’ve seen the best side of this city and this organization, and I’ve liked everything I’ve seen. But I have to regroup and assess everything. Whatever happens is going to happen for a reason.”
Pavelski, who is turning 35 in July, could have played his last game with the Sharks as well. He’s played his entire career in San Jose but if Wilson didn’t re-sign Patrick Marleau a couple of years ago, the Pavelski situation might not be a guarantee. The 34-year-old did seem confident in a return with San Jose.
“I’m pretty confident. I have a pretty strong belief system is that I’ll be back here,” he said. “It’s not about dotting the ‘I’s” yet. But we love it here. I’m sure things will move along.”
Thornton is the one player the Sharks shouldn’t have an issue re-signing but the question with the 39-year-old is whether he’s planning on playing another year.
“I’m a Shark. I’m a Shark. There’s one team, and it’s here.”
No matter what happens, Thornton will retire a Shark but whether it’s this year or next is still up in the air. It doesn’t appear he’s close on a decision and there’s no timeline.
“We’ll see. I haven’t made any decision yet. I feel like I can still play, that’s for sure.”
While not addressing the Karlsson or Pavelski, Wilson did talk briefly about Thornton and his possible return.
“He’s a Shark,” said Wilson. “I have such tremendous respect for him, not just as a hockey player, but as a man. He can take as long as he’d like to make a decision. We love him.”