SAN JOSE -- Center Joe Pavelski has grown up with the Sharks organization. Now he has a contract extension with the team that will nearly take him to the end of his career.
Forgoing the chance to become one of the most sought-after unrestricted free agents in the NHL next summer, Pavelski, 29, signed a five-year, $30 million contract extension with the Sharks that solidifies his place as one of the team's most valuable players.
"Getting this done was a big deal for us," Pavelski said on a conference call. "It's a place that I've grown up in now and the family feels really comfortable here and I understand the organization.
"I've enjoyed my seven years there, so to be there for another six years now is really important and we're looking forward to it."
With the deal, Pavelski joins Logan Couture and Marty Havlat as the Sharks' highest paid players at $6 million for the 2014-15 campaign. Couture agreed to a five-year extension worth $6 million per year in June. Both Pavelski and Couture's contracts run through the 2018-19 season.
Pavelski's new contract will start July 1, 2014 after his current deal, which pays him $4 million this season, expires.
"Being committed to me for another six years, for my part, I have to repay them for putting that trust in me now," Pavelski said.
In the lockout-shortened 2013 season, Pavelski finished tied for third on the team with 31 points, including 16 goals, in 48 regular season games. He battled inconsistency at times, scoring 12 points in San Jose's first seven games in January and just three points in 12 games in February.
Pavelski shined in the playoffs, however, leading the Sharks with 12 points in 11 postseason games as San Jose swept Vancouver in the first round and lost to Los Angeles in seven games in the Western Conference semifinals.
In 74 career playoff games, he has 50 points. In franchise playoff history, Pavelski ranks second in goals with 24 and third in points with 50.
"He's one of our core players, the way he plays," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "To me it was just an important contract to get done, certainly on the heels of Logan's contract. He fits certainly for now and for the future."
Four Sharks are now set to be unrestricted free agents after the 2013-14 season, including forwards Joe Thornton, 34, and Patrick Marleau, 33, and defenseman Dan Boyle, 37. Wilson said there have been talks with representatives of those three players, but did not offer any details.
"Joe is 29 and the other players are a different age and have gone through that phase," Wilson said of Thornton, Marleau and Boyle.
"Have we had discussions going forward? The answer is yes. But Joe is 29 and he's 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."
Pavelski, drafted in the seventh round by the Sharks in 2003, was recently invited to Team USA's orientation camp in August in preparation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. He won the silver medal with Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and is third among all American-born players with 158 points over the past three seasons.
"He's a hockey player," Wilson said. "We use him on the point on the power play, we can use him on the first line, we use him for key faceoffs, blocking shots. He won a national championship (at Wisconsin) for a reason. He's just a winner."