Sharks

Patrick Marleau believes Sharks 'a good fit,' willing to be patient

Patrick Marleau believes Sharks 'a good fit,' willing to be patient

Patrick Marleau wants to talk to the San Jose Sharks, but he'll be polite and let them finish the conversations they're already having.

The former Shark was bought out of his contract by the Carolina Hurricanes this week, and there's only one team he wants to join. He's made that clear for the last few weeks.

“Yeah, it would be nice to come back here [to San Jose] and play where I started,” Marleau told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. “It would be a good fit for me for sure.’’

Marleau spent the first 19 seasons of his NHL career in San Jose. After two years with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the 39-year-old is ready to come back to the Bay Area, as he wants to be close to his wife and kids.

But at this stage in his career, Marleau knows he's not the Sharks' top priority. He's well aware they have much more important things to figure out. Captain Joe Pavelski might be on his way out the door. Timo Meier, Joonas Donskoi and Kevin Labanc, among others, need new contracts. Marleau will have to wait until the Sharks settle all of that before they can even think about adding him back to their roster.

“It might take a bit longer, I’m not sure,” Marleau told LeBrun. “I know they have some things that they’re juggling around. We’ll see how it goes.’’

If the dust settles and the Sharks don't have the salary-cap space or a roster spot for Marleau, he admits that he's open to finding another on the West Coast.

"You never know how things are going to play out," Marleau said. "But obviously to be close to here would be beneficial for my family."

[RELATED: Sharks' prospects make big impression]

One thing is for sure: After 21 seasons in the NHL, Marleau isn't considering hanging up his skates. Not even close.

“I’m definitely not ready to retire. I think I’ve got some really good hockey left in me,” Marleau said. “I couldn’t give you an exact number of years, but it’s going to be more than one, I know that.’’

Arizona State star Brinson Pasichnuk agrees to join Sharks, team says

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AP

Arizona State star Brinson Pasichnuk agrees to join Sharks, team says

The Sharks added some promising defensive depth to their organization.

Arizona State defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk agreed to join the organization, general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement Tuesday.

"Brinson is an excellent puck-moving defenseman with a physical brand of hockey," Wilson said. "As captain for the Sun Devils program for two seasons under Arizona State head coach Greg Powers, he is a great teammate and proven leader. We are happy to have him join our organization."

The Athletic's Kevin Kurz first reported, then The Hockey News' Ken Campbell and Bay Area News Group's Curtis Pashelka later confirmed Monday that Pasichnuk was nearing a contract agreement with the Sharks.

San Jose did not say the prospect signed a contract, and Campbell reported Monday that Pasichnuk's "intention is to sign" for this season if the NHL season resumes amid the coronavirus pandemic. Campbell wrote that Pasichnuk will sign for next season if the current season doesn't resume.

Pasichnuk, 22, scored 107 points (39 goals, 68 assists) in 136 games over four seasons with the Sun Devils. The 6-foot, 200-pound defenseman ranked third among blueliners with 37 points this season, tying for second in goals (11) behind only Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist David Farrance of Boston University.

Campbell reported Monday that Pasichnuk narrowed down his 20 suitors to the Sharks and Arizona Coyotes. Pasichnuk told The Hockey News that he knows where he is signing, but is "just waiting to see what (the NHL is doing)" for the remainder of the season during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sharks got a glimpse at Pasichnuk last summer when he skated in the team's development camp, along with his brother, Steen. The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau ranked the younger Pasichnuk 115th out of all draft-eligible skaters in 2016, but the defenseman was not drafted.

[RELATED: Sharks' Burns says teachers are legends amid pandemic]

A standout collegiate career got him on to NHL scouts' radar, and Pasichnuk conceivably could be in line for playing time this season -- assuming the Sharks play if the season resumes -- or next. Nikolai Knyzhov and Jacob Middleton have played on San Jose's third defense pairing since Brenden Dillon was traded to the Washington Capitals last month, and Pasichnuk -- a left-shooting defenseman like those three -- could then slot in behind Radim Simek and Mario Ferraro.

Ferraro, 21, and top prospect Ryan Merkley, 19, are the Sharks' most promising young defensemen. Pasichnuk's time at Arizona State indicates he'll warrant consideration, too. 

How Sharks' wild comeback win vs. Predators epitomized 2018-19 season

How Sharks' wild comeback win vs. Predators epitomized 2018-19 season

Progamming note: Watch the re-air of the Sharks' comeback win over the Nashville Predators from Oct. 23, 2018 tonight at 8 PT on NBC Sports California.

They didn't know it at the time, but a win over the Nashville Predators on Oct. 23, 2018 ultimately laid bare the Sharks' strengths -- and weaknesses -- that would define their 2018-19 season.

The Sharks beat the Predators 5-4 that night in Nashville, overcoming a two-goal deficit with just under eight minutes remaining in the third period with a three-goal barrage in five minutes and 28 seconds. San Jose’s offense could keep up with just about any team last season, and lackluster goaltending largely necessitated said firepower.

Martin Jones stopped just 25 of the 29 shots he faced, even though the Sharks outshot the Predators in all situations (32-29) and held slight edges in 5-on-5 shot attempts, shots and scoring chances, according to Natural Stat Trick. Nashville created more high-danger chances (8-6) and expected goals (1.46-1.38) than San Jose at full strength.

Only the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning scored more goals (319) than the Sharks (289) last season, which was the most prolific in franchise history. Yet the Sharks finished with just a plus-31 goal differential, as Jones and backup goaltender Aaron Dell posted career-worst save percentages while the Sharks allowed the NHL’s 11th-most goals (258).

The Sharks ranked no worse than 12th in suppressing high-danger chances, scoring chances and expected goals at full strength, yet San Jose allowed 111 5-on-5 high-danger goals in the NHL. Only the Ottawa Senators -- defenseman Erik Karlsson’s former team -- and the Edmonton Oilers allowed more, and those teams finished an average of 22.5 points outside of the postseason.

But the Sharks had enough offensive talent to overcome their goaltending woes, finishing two wins shy of a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. San Jose was too depleted to hang with the St. Louis Blues by the end of the Western Conference final, but a healthy Sharks team would’ve had a great chance to advance. The 2018-19 Sharks were an elite puck-possession team, capable of scoring in myriad ways.

That was evident in the aforementioned comeback win over the Predators. The Sharks scored twice on the power play, twice at even strength and once short-handed. Brenden Dillon got the comeback started with an end-to-end rush on the penalty kill, then-captain Joe Pavelski finished off a 3-on-2 fewer than 30 seconds later and a pair of Norris Trophy winners -- Karlsson and Brent Burns -- combined to seal the victory.

[RELATED: Sharks' Burns says "teachers are legends" amid pandemic]

The Sharks couldn’t have known their ninth game of 2018-19 would prove so instructive, but the win over the Predators set the tone for what was to come.

For better and worse.