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Golden Gate Gossip
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI – MAY 15: Joe Pavelski #8 of the San Jose Sharks looks on against the St. Louis Blues during the third period in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Enterprise Center on May 15, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. Golden Gate Gossip (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

2. Joe Pavelski considering external options

The Sharks free agency period is set to be a stressful one for the franchise with a number of major decisions to be made.

In fact, the offseason has already been quite busy after re-signing star defenseman Erik Karlsson to an eight-year $92 million contract and trading away longtime veteran defenseman Justin Braun.

But the most recent bit of gossip from the rumor mill isn’t exactly good news. It also isn’t news that should be too unexpected either.

Sharks captain Joe Pavelski is set to hit unrestricted free agency and the longtime Sharks forward is seemingly already prepared to depart to a new location. Per Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, Pavelski is already eyeing visits with a few teams this week.

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The Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars are two teams that reportedly have meetings arranged with Pavelski and the Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres are also set to be in the market to acquire his services.

With just under $15 million in cap space, it’s hard to imagine the Sharks being able to bring Pavelski back considering the various other re-signings they still have to make. Both Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc are restricted free agents and need new deals while they’d also like to keep veteran Joe Thornton around.

All of this makes it increasingly likely that Pavelski leaves in free agency. His visits with other teams could soon turn into an official contract signing before long once free agency kicks off this Monday.