SAN JOSE – The two cornerstones of the offense are locked up, with Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski inked through 2018-19. Unassuming yet highly effective defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s five-year contract extension kicks in this fall, while defenseman-turned-forward Brent Burns has four years left on his deal.
It’s certainly not a bad foursome to build upon. But, where does that leave the so-called aging core of the Sharks, as 34-year-old Joe Thornton, 34-year-old (in September) Patrick Marleau and 37-year-old Dan Boyle are all pending unrestricted free agents next summer?
General manager Doug Wilson was asked about the status of those three players specifically on a conference call on Tuesday morning, after addressing Pavelski’s five-year, $30 million contract extension that was made official earlier in the day.
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“Joe [Pavelski] is 29, the other players are a different age and have gone through that phase,” Wilson said. “We don’t talk about negotiations publicly. Have we had discussions with the other three? Yes. Will we have discussions going forward? The answer is yes.
“Joe is 29 and is coming into his prime, and for him to give up five years of unrestricted free agency and give us this type of contract is very important. The other three players have done that also, when they were at that age.”
According to CapGeek.com, Marleau will be the Sharks’ highest paid player next season with a $6.9 million salary. Boyle will earn $6.67 million, while Thornton will collect $6 million (with a $7 million salary cap hit). It’s unlikely any of those players will earn paychecks of that magnitude in future seasons.
While it’s news that Wilson has talked to them about possible extensions, it’s probably unlikely anything will be done before the start of the 2013-14 season. Individual performance, and the performance of the team, could dictate which of those three continues to wear a black and teal sweater in the fall of 2014.