The Sharks’ exodus from Europe continues.
Forwards Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels will return to North America in time for the Christmas holiday and will “re-evaluate from there,” the agent for both players told CSNCalifornia.com on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Pavelski, who joined the KHL’s Dinamo Minsk in early October, has four goals and six assists for 10 points in 15 games in what is generally considered the top league in Europe.
Wingels, playing for KooKoo of the second-tier Mestis league in Finland, has 22 points (8g, 14a) and 33 penalty minutes in 18 games. The 24-year-old recently suffered a minor leg injury that caused him to miss one game, and has been suspended twice, including a three-game ban in late October for a check to the head.
Jason Demers (Finland), Thomas Greiss (Germany), Michal Handzus (Slovakia) and Joe Thornton (Switzerland) are the only Sharks that remain with their clubs abroad. Other Sharks that played overseas but have since returned to North America include Logan Couture (Switzerland), Douglas Murray (Sweden), Antti Niemi (Finland), Justin Braun (Finland) and TJ Galiardi (Germany).
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It’s highly likely that the players who have returned or are on their way back will wait and see what transpires with the NHL before they make their next move. Although negotiations are at a virtual standstill, the drop-dead date for a shortened season is expect to be around the middle of January. That gives the NHL and NHLPA approximately two-to-three weeks to come to an agreement.
In 1994-95, a 48-game NHL season began on Jan. 20.