The Wild reportedly are hoping to convince free agent Joe Pavelski to sign with them when NHL free agency opens at 11 a.m. Monday, but it appears the veteran center will be headed elsewhere.
The 34-year-old from Plover, Wis., visited with Dallas and Tampa Bay during the NHL’s negotiating period, according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic. The Wild was hoping to get a visit from Pavelski on Saturday but that did not happen, according The Athletic’s Michael Russo.
#mnwild are one of those teams. They were hoping he’d visit today, but he decided not to come. Wild brass has talked to Pavelski, sent him recruiting video, told they’re still an option
Handful of Wild players have tried to sway Joe. Winning a Cup is his biggest motivation https://t.co/iOveTUWed5
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) June 29, 2019
The Wild have the cap space to compete for Pavelski — more than $19 million entering free agency — but the longtime San Jose Shark (13 years) is more likely to take a deal with a team that he feels has a chance to win a Stanley Cup. The Wild missed the playoffs in 2018-19 and is considered to be in at least a semi-rebuild.
A seventh-round pick by the Sharks out of Wisconsin in 2003, Pavelski had 38 goals and 26 assists in 75 regular-season games for San Jose this season. The Sharks captain added four goals and five assists in 13 playoff games.
Russo also reported (subscription required) that the Wild have shown serious interest in veteran right winger Wayne Simmonds and have inquired about forward Anders Lee of Edina. Simmonds was traded by Philadelphia to Nashville last February but had only one goal and two assists in 17 regular-season games with the Predators. The Wild likes Simmonds in part because he’s a right-handed shot and can contribute on the power play.
Lee, who replaced John Tavares as the Islanders’ captain last season, would like to return to New York but will have other teams pursuing him. Lee has played in 80 or more games for four consecutive seasons and had 28 goals and 23 assists and was a plus-20 in 82 games this season.