SAN JOSE – In his first season as an NHL captain, Joe Pavelski helped advance the San Jose Sharks to within two victories of the Stanley Cup.
Team USA is apparently hoping Pavelski’s leadership rubs off on its squad for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey. According to a source, there is a “99 percent” chance that the Wisconsin native will captain the red, white and blue for the upcoming tournament in Toronto, which runs from Sep. 17 – Oct. 1.
Pavelski, 32, had 78 points in 82 games last season, and led the Sharks with 38 goals (fifth in the NHL). His 11 game-winning goals led the league. In the postseason, Pavelski contributed 23 points (14g, 9a) in 24 games as the Sharks advanced to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final, losing to the Penguins in six games.
Pavelski is the only NHL player to have four 30-goal, 30-assist seasons since 2011-12, and his 116 goals since the start of the 2013-14 season are second behind only Washington's Alex Ovechkin (154).
Since 2008-09, only Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel have more points than Pavelski’s 495 among US-born NHL players. The World Cup will mark the fourth time that Pavelski has played for the United States, including the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, and the 2009 World Championships.
Pavelski is the first full-time, US-born captain in Sharks franchise history, after coach Pete DeBoer awarded him the ‘C’ on Oct. 5, 2015.