Friday, June 25, 2010

Sharks Re-Sign Marleau and Pavs

Many Sharks fans rejoiced yesterday as news surfaced of the re-signing of the Sharks' playoff heroes: Joe "Pavs" Pavelski and Patrick Marleau. This is great news as both players are integral pieces to the team's success.

Not surprisngly, fans grew nervous of the futures for some of the fan favorites, especially due to the decision to not re-sign Evgeni Nabokov. In addition, the NHL had some interesting trades, notably the Chicago Blackhawks' decision to deal playoff hero Dustin Byfuglien to the Atlanta Thrashers and the Montreal Canadiens' decision to deal their "brick wall" goaltender Jaroslav Halak (who had led the team past two powerhouses: Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals and Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins) to the St.Louis Blues. These decisions alone make the prospect of trading big names something less of a surprise. Fortunately, two team favorites re-signed to stay with Silicon Valley's favorite and most popular sports team.

Pavelski signed a four year, $16 million contract to stay with the Sharks. With his strong post-season performance, Pavelski is just too valuable of a player to dish out, and the Sharks know it. Additionally, given the Sharks have consistently made playoffs each year, only to eventually lose, the team's management understands they cannot be pulling any punches with stacking their team. Strong playoff performers are a must. Although Pavelski managed a respectable 51 points during the regular season, he flourished in the post season with an amazing 17 points in 15 games, including 9 goals - a statistic he led the NHL in for a period of time.

As important as it may be to have strong regular season performers to qualify for playoffs, it does not get you the Stanley Cup.

This is why it was also smart to re-sign Patrick Marleau. Marleau has spent his entire NHL career with the Sharks, after being drafted second overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft (coincidentally behind the first pick Joe Thornton, who went to the Boston Bruins for his first eight seasons before coming to the Sharks). Although Marleau got off to a slow start in the 2010 playoffs, he quickly proved critics wrong by scoring in the most critical of times. Notably, his goal against the Detroit Red Wings in Game Five at the HP Pavilion was critical in vaulting the Sharks past the Red Wings into the next stage of the playoffs.

As an opinionated San Jose Sharks hockey fan (and occasional hockey player), I have confidence the Sharks will be able to build a lethal squad this year. Although the choice not to re-sign Nabokov was an emotional one for me, I am sure a lot went into the decision and I wish him the very best. My confidence for this year, however, was solidified when I agreed to another year of season tickets.

Keep your eye out on this blog for more updates. The 2010 NHL Entry Draft takes place in Los Angeles this weekend, so keep your eye out for new young prospects.

Here's to the next successful year!

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