On July 30, 2013, the San Jose Sharks announced they had come to terms on a new five-year contract with Star center Joe Pavelski. This is great news for Sharks fans, as San Jose will again be playing in the NHL’s newly realigned ultra-competitive Pacific division in the 2013-14 season.
Earlier in the offseason, the Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Slava Voynov, and team captain Dustin Brown to long-term deals.
Midway through the 2013 season, the Anaheim Ducks signed both Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf to long term deals.
The rivalry between the Sharks and both of the southern California NHL franchises continues to build. In 2009, San Jose had the best regular season record in the league, but were bounced by the Ducks in the first round.
In 2011, the Sharks eliminated the Kings in the first round. In 2013 the Kings got their revenge when they ousted the Sharks in a nail-biting second round series which went the full seven games.
Los Angeles and Anaheim have never met in postseason competition.
The battle for hockey supremacy in the state of California looks like it will not be losing any steam any time soon.
The Sharks did have a hiccup in 2012, when the St Louis Blues eliminated them in the first round. The were then right back the mix in 2013, when they were only one game away from qualifying for the Conference final for the third time in four seasons, proving they are still a force to be reckoned with.
This is not just an interstate rivalry, but these three teams have figured rather Prominently in the playoff picture over the past 10 years.
Since 2003, the NHL’s California-based franchises have combined for eight trips to the Conference final, and two Stanley Cup championships.
The Sharks do face the reality that Father time may have his sights set on two of their Star players. Patrick Marleau is now 33 years old, and Joe Thornton is 34. Both are still capable of great play, but are entering the twilight of their respective careers.
This season, both Marleau and Thornton will be playing in the final year of their contracts. It will be interesting to see how they both perform with unrestricted free agency looming on the horizon.
All the more reason to lock up the younger talent like Joe Pavelski.
29 year old Pavelski along with 24 year old Logan Couture, should be the team’s top two centers for the foreseeable future.
Both Pavelski and Couture are signed through the 2018-19 season.
Pavelski was originally the Sharks’ seventh round pick in the 2003 NHL entry draft. He has amassed 150 goals, 186 assists (336 pts) in 479 career regular season NHL games played – All with the Sharks.
In this upcoming season, the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes, and Vancouver Canucks will make up the rest of the NHL’s newly realigned Pacific division.
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