By Thomas Gibbons
Mark Lazerus of The Athletic Chicago posted an article on Monday discussing four offseason possibilities for the Chicago Blackhawks and one note was very interesting.
I’ve heard from a couple of league sources that Pavelski is intrigued by the idea of coming to Chicago should he leave San Jose (a big if, to be sure), and he’d be a great short-term fit in the top six.
Pavelski, turning 35 in July, scored 38 goals last season and while he wants to return to San Jose, there may not be enough money to spread the wealth around in San Jose. The Sharks just signed Erik Karlsson to an eight-year deal worth over $11.5 million per season. Here is a link to their CapFriendly page.
Blackhawks fans know Pavelski first hand from the playoff runs in the decade. He’s a fine player and a grinder. And he’s tough. In the playoff this season, he took a puck to the chin and lost some teeth. He returned in the game, to no ones surprise, wearing a full face-mask and ready to go again.
Since Marian Hossa left the game because of an allergic reaction to his hockey pads, Jonathan Toews has yet to find someone he has clicked with on his wing. Toews and Brandon Saad clicked, but he was shipped off to Columbus after the 2015 Stanley Cup. He returned two seasons ago but is not living up to what he once was. In addition, Toews has played with half a dozen young forwards and while no one was going to be like Hossa, they were not going to be long-term fits. Now, Pavelski would fit the mold and is a very intriguing option. He scored 38 goals in 75 regular season games last season to go along with nine points in 13 games in the playoffs.
Pavelski wants to return to San Jose and there have been some talks between the two sides but nothing more advanced than that. And the cap is going to be tight in San Jose. There is a possibility they will not reach an agreement given the Sharks focusing on signing their younger forwards.
It will be something if the Sharks can figure it out but there is a chance it does not. So should the Blackhawks explore Pavelski if he becomes available? They should definitely check in and see if it is a short-term fit. The age is a factor but a short-term deal could be worth it. His CORSI is solid, 54.6% for his career, and while a -4 last season is somewhat of a concern, you cannot deny the potential of his fit with Toews and what it would mean for the forward group under Jeremy Colliton.