What Gives Peter DeBoer Optimism Joe Pavelski Will Re-sign With Sharks

The Sharks crossed off an important to-do item off their list Monday when they re-signed defenseman Erik Karlsson.

Now their attention turns to captain Joe Pavelski.

While the Sharks have the cap room to re-sign Pavelski, they also have other free agents to think about.

But head coach Peter DeBoer feels pretty confident that the Sharks and Pavelski will come together on a new contract.

"He's our captain. He's our leader," DeBoer said Friday at the NHL Coaches Association meetings, according to NHL.com. "He's a really hard guy to replace, borderline irreplaceable. So I'm hopeful. I don't play a role in that. There's a lot of different things that go into those decisions both for him and the team, but I'm hopeful and I think he wants to be back, so that gives me optimism."

Pavelski just completed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Sharks. This past season, he finished with 64 points and led the Sharks with 38 goals.

After re-signing Karlsson and trading defenseman Justin Braun to the Philadelphia Flyers for two draft picks, the Sharks now have $15.342 million in projected cap space, according to CapFriendly.com.

[RELATED: Donskoi to explore free agency]

In addition to Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi, Joe Thornton, Gus Nyquist and Micheal Haley are all unrestricted free agents. Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier and Dylan Gambrell are all restricted free agents.

So, the Sharks have decisions to make. But bringing their captain back should be a pretty easy one for both sides.

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