Joe Pavelski said Tuesday he doesn’t intend to play in the NHL next season.

The Dallas Stars forward, who will turn 40 on July 11, had 67 points (27 goals, 40 assists) in 82 regular-season games this season, his 18th in the NHL, but was less effective in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with four points (one goal, three assists) in 19 games. Dallas was defeated by the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final in six games.

"This was it for me. It was known for a while, probably," Pavelski said. "The plan is not to play next year. We're still moving back at some point here, decompressing and figuring all this stuff out and logistics and stuff. I don't want to say this is official, but the plan is not to be coming back. There will be more to come on that. Everything is still so raw, nothing official. There will be more words. I'm going to need a little bit of time to really put it together and figure it out that way. Most likely that was it and couldn't ask for a better opportunity and a better group of guys to be around."

Selected by the San Jose Sharks in the seventh round (No. 205) of the 2003 NHL Draft, Pavelski has 1,068 points (476 goals, 592 assists) in 1,332 regular-season games for the Stars and Sharks. He played the past five seasons with the Stars after signing with them as a free agent July 1, 2019.

Following the regular season, Pavelski ranked fifth in goals and games, and seventh in points among active players.

"I don't know if it will be Joe's last game or not, but absolute privilege of my coaching career to coach a guy like that,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer after a 2-1 loss to the Oilers in Game 6 on Sunday. “Our young players are all better for having been around a guy like that."

Pavelski, who played 13 seasons with San Jose, is second in Sharks history in goals (355), third in points (761) and games (1,104), and fourth in assists (406). He was captain from 2015-19, and had 100 points (48 goals, 52 assists) in 134 playoff games for San Jose, helping it to the playoffs in 12 of them, including advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016 when the Sharks lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

“He’s a phenomenal player,” said New York Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow, who played with Pavelski in San Jose from 2014-19. “I think coming into the League as a young guy, he was one that would always look after younger guys. He always set the example. He’s a guy that did everything right.

“He’s a great player, better guy. The League’s going to miss him.”

NHL Now discusses possible retirement of Joe Pavelski

In five seasons with Dallas, Pavelski had 307 points (121 goals, 186 assists), including an NHL career-high 81 points (27 goals, 54 assists) in 2021-22. He played in every game the past four seasons and missed only two games in his five seasons with the team. Pavelski led the Stars with 13 goals in 27 games when they advanced to the Cup Final in 2020, but lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

"There's so many emotions going on right after that game," Pavelski said. "They're all real. I couldn't have asked for more; better teammates, organization, everything. We worked hard to try to get to the top and we came up a little short. But just really enjoyed the time here and what we've been able to accomplish with them together."

DeBoer also coached Pavelski with the Sharks from 2015-19.

"One of the highlights of my coaching career was when I walked into door in San Jose, and I didn't know Joe at all," DeBoer said. "Quickly in conversations in the room and people around the team, we made him captain. Probably that says more about Joe Pavelski than anything. You had two former captains in that room in Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, who are both Hall of Fame players. They both said Joe Pavelski should be captain … to have two guys like that say, 'This is the guy'. That probably says more about him and his character and what he stands for than anything anyone could say. Consummate pro. The highlight of my coaching career was working with him, and I'm so glad I got the opportunity to do it again after San Jose here for a couple of years."

Pavelski had 143 points (74 goals, 69 assists) in 201 playoff games and qualified for the postseason in 16 of his 18 seasons. He is first among active players in playoff goals and fourth in points, trailing Sidney Crosby (201) and Evgeni Malkin (180) of the Penguins, and Nikita Kucherov (167) of the Lightning.

"As athletes, you expect the best out of you," Pavelski said. "You get to a certain level, felt like I was coming in from San Jose to here at an extremely high level, and I believed in that. ... I still had a high expectation for my game, and I was glad to see it get back to that level and then sustain it. It wasn't just all about me. I played with some great players and came into an organization that had good people and good talent. There was a strong support system around me that allowed me to do that as well."

Among United States-born players, Pavelski ranks fifth in points and goals, seventh in games played, and 11th in assists. He made the NHL Second All-Star team in 2013-14 when he scored an NHL career-high 41 goals and had 79 points in 82 games with the Sharks and played in four NHL All-Star Games (2016, 2017, 2019, 2022).

"He's since Day One since he's been in here, he's meant everything in our group,” Stars forward Tyler Seguin said. “On the ice, off the ice, all our golf games, he has improved all of those. Just an amazing person to have in here."

Pavelski said he plans to spend more time with his family, which includes coaching his son in youth hockey.

"Be around that more," he said. "It'll be fun to be around that a bit more. You never know what happens. Love the game. Believe I'm a hockey guy. So I'll never be too far away from it. Kids are fun to be around. So if you can help them out, just enjoy the game together, and go from there."

His Stars teammates agreed that it would be a different feeling if Pavelski isn't with them next season.

"A couple of us were talking, just knowing he probably won't be back," goalie Jake Oettinger said. "I don't think it'll really set in until next year when you come back for camp and he's not there. When you're on the plane and he's right next to me and he's not in his seat. I just don't think there's enough words to say how big of a presence he is and it's not a hole you'll ever be able to fill. You'll do the best you can but you're never going to fill that. He's just the ultimate teammate and human being. Being his teammate for four years has been unbelievable. The things that he's taught me, it's not even the words he says, it's just how he does it. I think the best thing about him is he doesn't just say it, he embodies it. He's an all-time teammate." columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika, senior writer Dan Rosen and independent correspondent Taylor Baird contributed to this report

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