Joe Pavelski

Sharks great Pavelski plans to retire from NHL: ‘This was it for me'

The 18-year NHL veteran said he does not plan to return to the NHL next season

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Joe Pavelski is preparing to hang up his skates.

While the soon-to-be 40-year-old did not officially retire, he told reporters on Tuesday that he does not plan to return to action next season.

"This was it for me. It was known for a while, probably," Pavelski said. "The plan is not to play next year. We're still moving back at some point here, decompressing and figuring all this stuff out and logistics and stuff. I don't want to say this is official, but the plan is not to be coming back. There will be more to come on that.

"Everything is still so raw, nothing official. There will be more words. I'm going to need a little bit of time to really put it together and figure it out that way. Most likely that was it and couldn't ask for a better opportunity and a better group of guys to be around."

After spending 13 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, Pavelski has spent the last five playing for the Stars in Dallas. The Stars' season came to a close in the Western Conference Final, as the Edmonton Oilers have moved on to face the Florida Panthers for the Stanley Cup.

"I don't know if it will be Joe's last game or not, but absolute privilege of my coaching career to coach a guy like that,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer, who also coached Pavelski in San Jose from 2015 to 2019, said after the team's Game 6 loss to the Oilers on Sunday. “Our young players are all better for having been around a guy like that."

Pavelski was a perennial playoff player, reaching the postseason in 16 of 18 seasons, but he never lifted the Cup. He reached one Cup Final with the Sharks in 2016 and lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. He got back to the Cup Final in 2020, his first season with the Stars, but was once again on the losing end as the Tampa Bay Lightning won the series in six games.

While the Cup eluded him, Pavelski built quite the resume over his NHL career. He was named to the NHL Second All-Star team in 2013-14, played in four All-Star Games, tallied 476 goals to go along with 592 assists and was a plus-201 player across 1,332 career regular season games. He ranks fifth in goals and games among active players.

"Captain America" also added some Olympic hardware in his career, taking home a silver medal with Team USA at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Pavelski plans to spend more time with his family, including time with his son at the rink.

"Be around that more," he said. "It'll be fun to be around that a bit more. You never know what happens. Love the game. Believe I'm a hockey guy. So I'll never be too far away from it. Kids are fun to be around. So if you can help them out, just enjoy the game together, and go from there."

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