SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The cash-strapped San Jose Sharks lost fan favorite Joe Pavelski and winger Joonas Donskoi Monday as both players reached free agent agreements with other teams.

Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson said Pavelski — who agreed to a three-year, $21 million deal with the Dallas Stars — would “always be part of the San Jose Sharks family.”

“Joe led by example, not only as a player but as a person, and the impact he has had on this franchise and his teammates will be felt for years to come,” Wilson said in a prepared statement. “Under a cap system, these extremely difficult separations are a reality and, unfortunately, we could not find common ground on dollars and term to keep Joe in San Jose.”

Donskoi, who set a career high last year with 37 points, agreed to a $15.6 million, four-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche.

San Jose lost the ability to keep both players when they signed defenseman Erik Karlsson to an eight-year, $92 million deal last month.

Pavelski led Western Conference finals qualifier San Jose with 38 goals in 75 regular-season games while adding 26 assists for 64 points. The 34-year-old also led the Sharks with 12 power play goals.

He is second in San Jose franchise history with 355 goals while ranking third in points (761) and assists (406) during his 13 NHL seasons with the Sharks.

Pavelski has been captain the past four years when the Sharks won six playoff series for their most successful four-year run in franchise history.

“Like many other players around the NHL, Joe has earned the right to become a free agent,” Wilson said. “We respect his decision and want to thank Joe, his wife Sarah and son, Nate, for 13 wonderful seasons. They will always be part of the San Jose Sharks family.”

The Sharks did announce they had re-signed defenseman Tim Heed to a one-year contract and forward Timo Meier to a four-year deal.

“Tim is a reliable, puck moving defenseman whose skillset fits the way we want our group to play,” said Wilson. “He is also a great teammate and a team-first individual. We’re very pleased to keep him in San Jose.”

Heed, 28, appeared in 37 games last season registering 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) with a plus-nine rating. He set career highs in games played, assists, points and plus-minus in the 2018-19 campaign and recorded his first career multi-assist game Mar. 3 vs Chicago Blackhawks.

Last season, Meier, 22, tallied 66 points (30 goals, 36 assists) and a plus-nine rating in 78 games, finishing tied-for-third on the Sharks in goals, fourth in points, sixth in assists, tied for fourth in power-play goals (6), and third in shots.

“Timo is one of only a few young, dominant power forwards in the NHL and we’re extremely pleased that he stepped forward to make this commitment to the Sharks,” said Wilson. “Timo has elevated himself into a core part of our hockey team and his play last season was a huge part of our success. We feel that his best hockey is still ahead of him.”

Comments