Joe Pavelski has played his entire career in a Sharks uniform. So it's going to be weird to see him play for the Dallas Stars next season.
San Jose's former captain recently signed a three-year contract with Dallas in free agency. From a talent and character standpoint, there is no question that the Sharks would have preferred to retain Pavelski. But, due to a cap crunch, it just wasn't going to be possible to pay Pavelski his fair market value while also addressing other pressing issues on the roster.
The Sharks will face the Stars three times during the 2019-20 regular season, but won't get their first opportunity to honor Pavelski's contributions to the franchise until their first encounter at SAP Center on Jan. 11. In the meantime, the Sharks took out a full-page ad in the Mercury News, thanking Pavelski for his 13 seasons in teal.
"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," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson stated within the ad, above the hashtag #SHARKSFORLIFE.
Ironically, Pavelski's departure might make it possible for Patrick Marleau -- the only player who might have more claim to being 'Mr. Shark' -- to return to San Jose. If that is indeed how it works out, that would mean Pavelski and/or Marleau has been on every Sharks roster dating back to the 1997-98 season.
In any case, it's a classy move by a classy organization to honor a classy player.