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Wisconsin native Joe Pavelski retiring after remarkable 18-year career in NHL

Plover native Joe Pavelski left the door slightly ajar, but strongly intimated that he was retiring from the NHL when speaking to Dallas Stars reporters Tuesday.

Pavelski said he hasn't officially retired but doesn't intend to play next season. He'll turn 40 in July.

Pavelski attended Stevens Point Area Senior High and the University of Wisconsin (during which the Badgers won the 2006 NCAA championship), and he just wrapped his 18th season with 27 goals and 40 assists for the Stars, stopped heartbreakingly short of the Stanley Cup Finals in a 4-2 series loss to the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference finals.

The Oilers won on Sunday, 2-1, to eliminate Dallas from the postseason. It's the second straight year Dallas has seen its season end at this juncture.

Pavelski played in 19 postseason games, gathering a goal and three assists after his third straight regular season of playing all 82 games.

Pavelski, whose 13 seasons in San Jose make him one of the greats in franchise history, played in the Stanley Cup finals with the Sharks in 2016 and again with Dallas in 2020 but never hoisted the Cup.

Originally drafted in the seventh round of the 2003 NHL draft, he has scored the most playoff goals of any American-born player with 74, made four all-star teams, and appeared in 1,332 career NHL games, with 1,068 points.

Pavelski ranks fifth in points and goals among American-born players, seventh in games played, and 11th in assists.

"This was it for me. It was known for a while, probably," Pavelski told reporters. "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."

Pavelski headed into the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin native Joe Pavelski retiring after 18-year career in NHL