Joe Pavelski wants to be San Jose Sharks captain

San Jose Sharks defenceman Brent Burns talks about wanting to win and the team replacing head coach Todd McLellan with Peter DeBoer.

Between now and Oct. 7, the vacant San Jose Sharks captaincy is up for grabs — and Joe Pavelski tells us he wants the job.

The 31-year-old centre, drafted in the seventh round by San Jose back in 2003, is entering his 10th campaign as a Shark and is coming off back-to-back 70-point seasons.

One of the NHL’s most underrated forwards, Pavelski served as one of a rotating cast of alternate captains last season and must be considered as leading candidate to inherit the position.

“I think everybody wants to be a captain at some point,” Pavelski told Sportsnet during a sit-down last week. “If that role presents itself, you’re going to work towards it and do the best job you can do. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”


The Sharks’ C has almost been something of a scarlet letter. The team’s most established veterans, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, have both served and have been stripped of the captaincy — a rarity in the sport.

After Thornton — a future Hall of Famer and massive dressing-room presence — lost his post after the Sharks’ 2014 first-round playoff collapse to the L.A. Kings, the club went with a leadership-by-committee approach in 2014-15.

“It was all right,” Pavelski says. His tone is anything but upbeat. “There were definitely ups and downs throughout the season with everything. Definitely you don’t ever want to be in that situation coming out of the situation we had. There’s not necessarily a need for [a captain], but there was a lot of stuff that happened.

“Guys handled things pretty well. We showed up and played, but we expected more out of ourselves than what we got. We’re excited to come back this year. We’re excited to see they’ve added to our group.”

After missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade, San Jose made major changes this summer. Longtime No. 1 goaltender Antti Niemi flew to Dallas. Forever head coach Todd McLellan left for Edmonton. And general manager Doug Wilson opened his wallet, luring proven players Paul Martin and Joel Ward away from strong teams in free agency.

New bench boss Peter DeBoer has vowed to name one captain for the season opener.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time with the group talking to individuals, getting the sense of who’s fitting where and we’ll make those decisions,” DeBoer told The Associated Press upon his hiring. “Whoever wears those letters, the leadership group of this team will be much bigger than just the guys wearing the Cs and As.”

DeBoer called Pavelski for a brief five-minute chat shortly after he was hired.

“We have a real coach,” says Pavelski, who has learned from DeBoer’s past charges that players enjoy skating for him.

“Todd did a great job. For me, individually, he was beneficial. I learned a lot from him. Now, after seven years, the way everything played out, we’re excited for the start we’re going to have. Everyone is going come in and try to leave an impression early. In these situations you definitely get people’s best games.”

Despite finishing eight points behind the playoff pack last season, there is confidence among the Sharks that they’ll be back in the post-season. We believe that optimism is well-placed, and fellow Sharks forward Logan Couture (another captaincy candidate) guarantees a playoff return.

“That’s the plan. Hopefully further,” Pavleski says. “You can feel the energy in the city and throughout the fan base. We’re excited to get back as players.”

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