San Jose general manager Doug Wilson had told reporters earlier in the week that getting both men back in the fold would be "a home run," and he actually might have hit a grand slam. Wilson signed two of the team's most important players to four-year deals -- the Sharks are steering clear of the extra-long-term deals that are now hampering teams like the Blackhawks.
It appears he got particularly favorable terms with Pavelski, a rising star who will make $4 million per year on average. Many had thought it would take at least $5 million per year; Ryan Kesler's six-year, $30 million extension in Vancouver often has been the comparison point.
"You look at a lot of things, and the structure of our team is a lot different than Vancouver's, different forwards all making different amounts," Pavelski, 25, said on a conference call Thursday morning. "There are some areas you have to cut back, and if this helps, that's a good thing. This is a decent deal and I'm really excited to be here for four years. The biggest thing is winning."
Wilson won't talk specific financial terms, as per the Sharks' policy, but there's little question that San Jose is happy about how things worked out from a payroll perspective.
"Both players in different ways, I don't think there's any doubt the (open) marketplace would have been very kind to them," Wilson said on a conference call on Thursday.
Marleau, 30, is the franchise's all-time leading scorer, though he also has been a lightning rod for criticism in the Bay Area because of the team's disappointing playoff history. It was widely thought that San Jose would have to pick between Marleau and longtime goalie Nabokov, and the Sharks left no doubt which way they were going when Wilson said Tuesday that Nabokov would not be back. Marleau will earn an average of $6.9 million per year after making $6 million last year.
Marleau also chose to take less to stay in San Jose and to keep the team's payroll structure intact; as an unrestricted free-agent he could have made much more and received more years. Like Pavelski, Marleau picked potential success with the Sharks over heaps of dollars.
"You want to be on a winning team and allow the team to bring in players who can help you and allow you to be successful," Marleau said.
"It's exciting," Pavelski said of Marleau's same-day deal. "It shows the commitment a lot of players are feeling. We want to stay. Patty has been here a long time, anyway, but he's really coming into his own."
The Sharks are now seeking a goaltender via a trade, or on the free-agent market starting in one week. Wilson mentioned Thursday that there is an "excessive" supply of goalies on the open market.
His immediate order of business is the team's remaining unrestricted free agents, particularly third-line center Manny Malhotra, a key piece last year as a late addition, and one of the best free-agent pickups in the league last year.
Wilson said there has been "progress" in the efforts with the other players, and he said the team hopes to make some more announcement in the coming days.