Armchair GM Blockbuster: Joe Pavelski for Seth Jones

Joe Pavelski
(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

Before San Jose Sharks fans rip my head off, let me be clear that this isn’t a recommendation that GM Doug Wilson trade Joe Pavelski. The Wisconsin native is a terrific player and one of my favorites, but if the Sharks truly want to commit to rebuilding, than nobody on their current roster would fetch a higher return than Pavelski. Unlike Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, Pavelski doesn’t have a full no-movement clause and is four years younger. Pavelski still has considerably more miles left in the tank and is currently in the middle of back-to-back career goal scoring seasons.

The Sharks are an organization that keeps things close to the vest, so while the exact parameters aren’t clear, Pavelski reportedly only has a limited no trade clause. Therefore, the Sharks should have a significantly easier time finding a trade partner and fetching fair value in any potential deal. It would no doubt be a blockbuster and these mega star deals are often reserved for the offseason. While the Sharks acquired Joe Thornton midseason 2005, trades for Dan Boyle (2008), Dany Heatley (2009) and Brent Burns (2011), were all made during the offseason. While it doesn’t seem likely for the Sharks to move Pavelski, if they are going to go with a youth movement, Pavelski isn’t exactly young (will be 31 this summer). Plus a team like Nashville could use an impact player at forward to really make a push at the Stanley Cup.

Cost for Pavelski

So what would a team like the Predators have to give up? Well, a player of Pavelski’s super star status locked into a long-term contract would mean a hefty return. Likely that is a young established NHL player and a combination of either two first round picks or equivalent prospects. In terms of San Jose’s needs, and what Nashville has the most of, any potential deal would likely center around Seth Jones.

After reacquiring pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Cody Franson, the Predators are incredibly deep on their blue-line and could afford moving a piece like Jones (at least in the short term). Yes, he has a great future ahead of him but the Predators are in a position where a forward like Pavelski would make their offense as dangerous as any in the league. The Chicago Blackhawks just lost Patrick Kane for six-eight weeks and while the Central is still a dogfight, the window for the Predators to make a deep run this season is wide open.

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Giving up a future franchise defenseman would be tough for any team but if anybody can afford it, it would be Nashville. They are set for the forseeable future between the pipes with 32 year-old Pekka Rinne. At defense, franchise defenseman Shea Weber is far from old at 29, and the Predators also have young cogs Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, and Mattias Ekholm as defensemen who can be around for years to come. Outside rookie phenom Filip Forsberg however, the Predators lack a point per game caliber offensive force that is reliable season by season. Former Penguins star James Neal only has 34 points on the season and center Mike Ribiero has had many ups and downs over his career. With Pavelski on Ribiero’s wing though, those two could do a heck of a lot of damage on a second line. Now given that Jones is already a known commodity at his young age, he and just one other piece, either a prospect or first round pick would be an enticing return for San Jose. It would also push Nashville over the top.

Definition of Block Buster

This would be a huge splash for both teams. Keep in mind most of my colleagues think it would be silly for the Predators to give up on the 20-year-old Jones. At the same time, numerous Sharks fans are bound to rip me after reading this tomorrow. It is also not like the Predators are hurting for offense statistically this season being sixth in the league in goals per game. However, we often hear about teams adding pieces even when thing are seemingly going well. Adding Pavelski to the mix, and subtracting Jones, the Predators would still have a dynamite top four defense, arguably the best goaltender in the world but would get a huge boost to their power-play. Pavelski is a power-play goal scoring machine. Currently Nashville’s power-play is in the bottom third in the league. With 16 power-play goals, Pavelski is second in the entire NHL behind Alex Ovechkin. Nashville’s leading power-play goal scorer? Mike Fisher with six.

Joe Pavelski has been strong of late. (BridgetDS/Flickr)
Joe Pavelski has been strong of late. (BridgetDS/Flickr)

Giving up Jones may seem crazy but losing him will hardly hurt their ability to prevent goals this season. With Rinne, Weber, Josi, Franson, Ellis, and company, Nashville would still be one of the hardest teams to score against. Pavelski on the other hand would make their forwards vastly more daunting to opposing defenseman. With two of Nashville’s top Western Conference competitors having played tons of hockey in recent years (Chicago and Los Angeles) and both Chicago and St. Louis with injury concerns, the Predators have a terrific shot at getting through the vaunted West and into the final. Without adding a forward of Pavelski’s caliber though, Chicago, LA, and St. Louis stand a much better chance at shutting them down. With Pavelski, they become the clear cut favorite to win the Stanley Cup.

Losing Jones hurts long term, but with Weber and Rinne for the next 4-5 years at least, it is hard to envision them having any trouble preventing other teams from scoring in the near future. Pavelski on the other hand would change their fortunes from a mere playoff team to a Stanley Cup contender. Not to mention, Pavelski still has a handful of prime years left. They have plenty of cap space to add the veteran scorer.

By no means am I suggesting the Sharks should make this move. As a Sharks fan, it would be a true bummer to see one of the most beloved players move away. However, if the Sharks are going to actually rebuild, half-assing it would not be the way to go. If the Sharks are going to pull the plug on competing for the near term, really nobody sans Marc-Edouard Vlasic should be untouchable. Acquiring Jones would give the Sharks that true cornerstone two-way No. 1 guy that Brent Burns hasn’t been and likely won’t ever become. Vlasic and Jones as a top pair would be a terrific way to start re-tooling for the future.

To be clear this is just pure speculation. There is no inside information that makes me think either Doug Wilson nor Predators GM David Poile are looking to pull of this caliber of a block buster. However, it is merely a point to show that the Sharks should consider moving Pavelski if they are indeed going to rebuild. A goal scorer of his stature, contract, and age would fetch a handsome return. As for the Predators, with Weber, Josi, Jones, Franson, Ellis, and Ekholm, they arguably have six top-four caliber defenseman right now. That is what you call a surplus. If you ask me, they would be kicking themselves if it comes to the playoffs and the reason they don’t advance is because their sixth ranked scoring dried up. After all, before this season they were far from an elite scoring team.



25 thoughts on “Armchair GM Blockbuster: Joe Pavelski for Seth Jones”

  1. Andrew, you have got to be kidding ! Pavelski is one of only a few Sharks that the team can build around, along with Burns ( at forward) and Vlasic. I’d be willing to trade Couture for Seth Jones. Couture is a great player but seems soft which is exactly the Sharks problem. Jones has a lot of upside and could be a great leader.
    Pavelski apparently is a vocal leader in the locker room. The Sharks need to get tougher, I think Pavs can bring that !

    • I was thinking the same. Couture for picks a prospects. I don’t see him resigning with the sharks when is contract is up

  2. What do you think we could get for Doug Wilson? A bucket of pucks? He is the common thread through all of the underachieving. He needs to go. Period.

  3. SHARKS should trade for Keith Yandle.. They never will trade for Pavelski and even though you said you do not think the sharks should do it.. That fact that you even brought it up makes you a terrible person not worthy of calling yourself a sharks fan. Pavelski is our best player and a Shark his whole career. You should never write in article again you traitor. You also seem to be a pessimist which is just sad and sports fans do not want that they want optimism.. The sharks will win the cup, you just have to believe.

    • Just because you are a fan of a team doesn’t mean you can’t look at scenarios with a level head. Worst thing fans can do is get attached to players.

      • it is not about being attached to Pavelski, it is the fact that he is our current best player.. The trade you proposed in any sense is so terrible for the sharks no GM would ever make it. He is our leading scorer and one of the best goal scorers in the league. All of your articles are pessimistic way too negative. Best thing you can do as a fan is to believe in your team and support them. As opposed to being all negative and telling them and the coach and GM what to do, as if you know better than them. You do not know better than them they are in the position to make those decisions for a reason and your just writing your articles for a reason. They will not trade Pavelski sorry to dissapoint you they are trying to make him the face of the sharks instead of Marleau and Thornton so good luck with that. Oh and also a side note when you bring up putting him at third line you just sound unintelligent… you don’t put a top three or four goal scorer two years in a row on third line. Suggest marleau or couture on third line before are leading scorer but all of them are top six guys…

  4. Seth Jones isn’t even that good, he’s still a prospect. I’m still waiting on Dougie Hamilton to become the next Orr or even Ollie Maata who was fawned over just as irrationally. This would be a seriously dumb trade to make. Now the notion of selling high on Pavs….that thought has some merit to it.

    • 55% possession in year two, flipped his plus/minus from -23 as a rookie to plus-10. 6’4″ natural dmen who can skate and play at both ends are incredibly rare.

  5. I mentioned it on another site. Marleau to the Blackhawks for either Teravainin (sp?) or Saad. and Rundblad. He looks like a pretty good defenseman in the making.

    • Not sure hawks would be interested in taking on Marleau’s contact, but if you trade Pavelski, Marleau and Thornton would ought to be more interested in waiving

  6. “but if the Sharks truly want to commit to rebuilding, than nobody on their current roster would fetch a higher return than Pavelski.”

    When a team is rebuilding, that doesn’t mean they’re trading away an entire team. There are core players that you want to build around, and Pavelski would definitely be one of those players.

    • If Pavelski were 27, this wouldn’t be a discussion. But most rebuilds will take a couple of years at least to really take effect. By that time Pavelski will be 33-34. What Thornton is doing at 35 is not typical.

  7. You want to make an impact trade(s). Get rid of Marleau, Thornton, Kennedy, Sheppard, Wingels, Gioodrow, Niemi and/or McGinn. Then, you might have the start of a club that competes EVERY game? Yes, I know both Marleau & Thornton have NTCs (bribe them to leave). They (Sharks) will NEVER win a SC with either of them in the lineup.

  8. Nope. Not Pavelski. While they (Sharks) need to make wholesale changes, trading away their best player (clearly, in terms of value), is NOT the way to go.

  9. Worth noting, I was hoping the Sharks would grab Ribeiro in the offseason, given he signed a deal for only about $1million. Best case, you get a $5mil talent. Worst case, he still has his issues and you waste the $1mil.

    If he plays the way he’s capable, you get what the Sharks need, another creative player who can distribute the puck to the various scorers, especially 8, 12, 48, 39, 88. Jumbo on one line, Ribeiro on the next and you’d have two top lines with probably some good players spilling onto lower lines where they could take advantage of matchups.

    The reward was worth the risk. Its deals like that which turn a team from ordinary to Cup contender. So far this year, the Sharks are struggling to get to ordinary.

    • Yeah Ribiero is one of those guys who can go either way. Working so far in Nashville, imagine him setting up pavelski, would make him even better

      • More to the point, the worst case scenario with Ribeiro is he’s more trouble than he’s worth and you cut him halfway thru the year. In other words, a small risk. The upside is what’s playing out in Nashville. A top line quality player on a deal that’s paying him a very small fraction of what he’s worth.

        He’s making less this season than Mike Brown or Adam Burish is as a Shark. So little to lose, so much to gain if it works.

        At the time, people wondered if LAK was smart to get an oft-injured top talent like Gaborik. If Gaborik stays healthy, LAK has a good chance to win a Cup — and that’s exactly what happened. Ribeiro represented the same general sort of risk/reward. Without much risk and with a lot of reward.

        • fully agreed. A nice risk pickup would have been dustin penner for 4th line instead of John Scott. But what are you gonna do when Sharks front office wants to goon it up instead of score goals and win games.

  10. I really haven’t seen enough of Jones to know if he’s likely to be a star d-man. Because you don’t trade a star for someone who one day, might be pretty good.

    That said, it is the sort of rebuild trade you’d have to consider if Jones is looking like he’ll become a top pair d-man, an elite level d-man. Subtracting 10 years and adding elite potential is part of what a successful rebuild requires.

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