NHL rumors: Sharks 'don't want' to sign Patrick Marleau; Coyotes do


NHL rumors: Sharks 'don't want' to sign Patrick Marleau; Coyotes do

Former Sharks captain Patrick Marleau is skating in San Jose, but a reunion reportedly isn't in the cards. 

That's because the "Sharks don't want him," the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons wrote in his Saturday column. 

"Apparently, Arizona does, but Marleau may not want to play there," Simmons wrote. "This [offseason] isn’t turning out the way he hoped it would."

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded Marleau, 39, to the Carolina Hurricanes this summer in order to clear salary-cap space. Marleau, who left the Sharks for the Leafs and signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract with Toronto in 2017, was then bought out days later. Marleau's family moved back to San Jose this summer, and the veteran forward said he wants to play closer to them. He told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun that he considered the Sharks "a good fit," but admitted he would be open to playing elsewhere in the Western Conference. 

In his 21st NHL season, Marleau scored 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists). That represented the lowest total in an 82-game season of Marleau's career since his rookie campaign, even though Leafs coach Mike Babcock played Marleau over 16 minutes per night. The Sharks had plenty of departures up front this summer -- with ex-captain Joe Pavelski chief among them -- but San Jose is primed to use young wingers Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc in bigger roles next season. That doesn't leave much room for Marleau among the top six forwards, and the Sharks have younger prospects knocking on the door who can push for roles on the third and fourth lines. 

[RELATED: Why Sharks should, shouldn't retire Pavelsk's jersey first]

The Coyotes could have room for Marleau, especially once forward Marian Hossa is placed on long-term injured reserve. Arizona only has just shy of $200,000 in salary-cap space according to Cap Friendly, but teams can exceed the salary cap by 10 percent during the summer. The Desert Dogs fought through countless injuries to challenge for a playoff spot, and Marleau would add experience to a forward corps that now features scoring winger Phil Kessel. 

NHL training camps are about a month away, and there might not be a quick resolution for the longest-tenured player in Sharks history with so many restricted free agents -- like Mitch Marner, Marleau's former Toronto teammate -- still unsigned.

2020 NHL playoffs: Everything Sharks fans need to know when tuning in

2020 NHL playoffs: Everything Sharks fans need to know when tuning in

Watching the Stanley Cup playoffs this summer must be a strange experience for Sharks fans.

Sure, it's weird for every hockey fan watching games played in front of empty arenas in the middle of August during a global pandemic. But Sharks fans haven't spent much of the last few years as passive postseason observers, advancing to at least the Western Conference final in two of the four years preceding 2020.

There are plenty of intriguing storylines now that the playoff field has been whittled down to 16 teams. Which should Sharks fans pay attention to? Here's a guide to the postseason for San Jose supporters.

The Villains

Sharks fans' rooting interests in the playoffs can be best described as "Anyone but the Vegas Golden Knights." Not only did San Jose and Vegas square off in the last two postseasons, but the Golden Knights now are coached by former Sharks bench boss Peter DeBoer.

You'd have a difficult time convincing teal diehards to root for Chicago in the first round, considering how many times "Chelsea Dagger" played in the Original Six franchise's Western Conference final sweep of the Sharks a decade ago. But when the alternative is seeing the DeBoer-led Golden Knights march toward a Stanley Cup, Sharks fans have an easy choice.

The Familiar Faces

My colleague in content Brian Witt highlighted some of the biggest former Sharks still playing for a Stanley Cup. Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski -- that's still odd to type -- leads the list, but there are quite a few players who once donned teal who are playing for hockey's ultimate prize.

The Eastern Conference could lead to some difficult rooting choices for Sharks fans, though. It's likely that two of the Philadelphia Flyers (Justin Braun), Tampa Bay Lightning (Barclay Goodrow) and Washington Capitals (Brenden Dillon) will square off, and each player still is looking for their first ring.

[RELATED: How Sharks benefit from Rangers winning NHL draft lottery]

The Jokes

Somewhat surprisingly, the NHL really has leaned into the weirdness of this year's Stanley Cup playoffs being played in two buildings -- Edmonton's Rogers Place and Toronto's Scotiabank Arena -- for audiences watching from their couches. There has been a tribute to the "fans" in attendance, a ban on the wave and even multiple appearances from designated hat throwers when a player scores a hat trick.

The NHL had to postpone a playoff game because Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets at Scotiabank Arena went to five overtimes. Columbus' official account then tweeted this.

The Sharks had some fun with it, too. Collectively commiserating over the playoffs' fundamental strangeness is going to lead to a lot more over the next couple months, even if San Jose isn't a part of the postseason.

Sharks post hilarious tweet during Lightning-Blue Jackets five-OT game

Sharks post hilarious tweet during Lightning-Blue Jackets five-OT game

The Sharks aren't involved in the Stanley Cup playoffs. But like many hockey fans, they were excited to take in the opening games of four first-round series on Tuesday, all back-to-back starting at noon PT.

So much so that they cleared their calendar.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets played the second of those four games, in what many expected to be a heated matchup after the Blue Jackets memorably upset and swept the Lightning in the first round last year. What they didn't expect, however, was that game going to an incredible fifth overtime and lasting well into the night.

Lightning forward Brayden Point ultimately ended the marathon at the 10:27 mark of the fifth OT, making it the fourth-longest game in NHL playoff history. Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo stopped 85 of the first 87 shots he faced. He couldn't stop the 88th.

[RELATED: How Sharks benefit from Rangers winning NHL draft lottery]

Prior to the conclusion of the second game on Tuesday's slate, the league ultimately decided to move the fourth and final scheduled game between the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes to 8 a.m. PT on Wednesday morning.

So, thanks to the Lightning and Blue Jackets, the Sharks can watch a full game before Wednesday's boring weekly meeting.

Well, that is unless it goes to a fifth OT.