Patrick Marleau can enhance Hall of Fame résumé after trade from Sharks

Patrick Marleau can enhance Hall of Fame résumé after trade from Sharks

Scott Hannan spent over a decade of his NHL career as Patrick Marleau's teammate on the Sharks, so when San Jose sent the 22-year veteran to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a conditional 2021 third-round draft pick Monday, Hannan had a mixed reaction upon hearing the news.

"Obviously, a little bit of shock," Hannan told NBC Sports California. "Seeing Patty come back this year and how well he has played, and obviously he's synonymous with the Sharks -- been here for so long, a leader in so many categories -- but at the same time, you're happy for him to be able to get a chance with a really, really good team to chase the Cup, because the one thing that is missing on a Hall of Fame career is that.

"So, sorry to see him go, but at the same time, happy and hoping that he gets a chance to lift the Cup."

Marleau is headed to a far better situation in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins currently sit two points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division. With new teammates like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, he'll be on one of the most talented teams in the league as he attempts to win his first Stanley Cup.

"We all know how hard it is to win the Cup, and I sometimes don't like that conversation," Hannan added. "We know how many things you have to do, the luck, the good teams you have to be on. I mean, before Alex Ovechkin won the Cup, it was always, 'Can he ever do it? Is it about him?' That conversation, you never want to have that one later, and to see him hoist that Cup, I think it would just be a perfect capper to an already historic career."

Hannan views the trade as being beneficial for both sides. While the Penguins get a battle-tested veteran capable of moving up and down the lineup, the Sharks add something of more pressing use to the franchise.

"A third-round pick with an option of a second is a good pick-up, and the Sharks, if this is a mini reset or whatnot, we know you have to stockpile picks, and that's to be able to build for the future. And to be able to do that with Patty ... I like the fit for him in Pittsburgh, let's just call it that."

[RELATED: Before being drafted by Sharks, Marleau rooted for Penguins]

While Hannan believes Marleau will seamlessly fit in with the Penguins, it's worth noting that Marleau will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Might he return to San Jose next year as he closes in on Gordie Howe's all-time NHL record for games played?

"Wouldn't that be a story?" Hannan said. "Patty goes off, wins a Cup and comes back and locks down the most games played. That would be a cool story. Obviously, I would hope for that, but once somebody does move on, you just never know how that's going to fit. I'm not going to throw a percentage out there ... I just want to see Patty go on and have a great playoff run with the Pittsburgh Penguins."

The last -- and only -- time San Jose made it to the Stanley Cup final, it was defeated by Pittsburgh. If the Penguins are fortunate enough to win it all again -- with Marleau rather than against him -- you can be sure Sharks fans will feel differently than the last time around.

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


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.