Ryan Reaves has 40 career NHL goals. Sharks center Joe Pavelski has accrued 355 career goals, 38 of them this season. Pavelski averages 12+ more minutes a game and has $40M more in career earnings. Simple numbers alone show the wide gap between the two players. So after dropping their third straight series game, why in the world is the Sharks Captain so concerned with Reaves?
He’s called himself the lion in the jungle. You see what he does, he baits guys in and enjoys when he’s doing it. Give him credit. -Joe Pavelski, Sharks Captain
Reaves gets paid $2.75M and scored nine goals this season. Costing $300,000 per goal, clearly, the Golden Knights aren’t paying their fourth liner to score. Reaves is being paid to get into the heads of highly skilled players in the postseason. And he’s earned every penny against the Sharks.
Reaves is doing his job, he’s got us fired up at times. We’ve played against this guy 5-10 years ago when there were other heavyweights in the lineups and he was just very quiet. Now you see him he starts yapping when Haley’s out. -Joe Pavelski, Sharks forward
After each game in the series, one of the Sharks stars have brought up Reaves. The question is, why? Why are San Jose’s veteran leaders so concerned with a player that averages under ten minutes a game in this series?
Evander Kane's full comments on Ryan Reaves fight, some highlights:
"He thinks it's the WWE. Probably going to end up there pretty soon."
"Nobody thinks of Ryan Reaves as a hockey player."
"To chirp Jumbo's vision. The guy has over 1,000 assists. That doesn't seem too bright." pic.twitter.com/JG5heW3zB4
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) April 16, 2019
Future Hall of Famer Joe Thornton also piped in after Game 3. While Thornton was carrying on about Reaves, the league was getting his suspension papers prepared for the morning.
For a 30-goal scorer, boy he looked good in that fight… He looked like Brett Hull fighting Ryan. It was just tough to see Ryan go down like that versus a 30-goal scorer but hopefully he’ll have better luck next time. -Joe Thornton, Sharks forward
It is possible Pavelski and other Sharks leaders are trying to send a message to the rest of the teams that it’s time to stop talking. The Sharks are struggling and on the brink of elimination. They have bigger problems to sort out. Focusing on Reaves isn’t working, and it’s only helping the Golden Knights.
Yelling from the bench at me. I don’t know why they’re so caught up with me. They said I’m some plug and seem to be pretty caught up in it. -Ryan Reaves
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) April 15, 2019
San Jose’s stars are paid well to skate by lesser skilled players, absorb checks, handle heavy pressure, and control their emotions. The Sharks have failed at keeping their composure. That’s how Reaves impacts series.
Reaves joked a few months back on Spittin’ Chiclets that he “robbed the bank” and was being overpaid by Vegas. After his subtle impact this round, I can only imagine management feeling good about their investment.