Sharks' Marleau reacts to trade talk: 'Rather not feed into it'


Sharks' Marleau reacts to trade talk: 'Rather not feed into it'

SAN JOSE – Patrick Marleau responded to the latest round of trade speculation on Wednesday, the day after reports surfaced that he would be willing to play for one of three teams and that he was the one likely pushing management to explore trade possibilities.

Does he want to stay in San Jose?

“I’ve been here forever and it’s been a great place to play,” said Marleau, the franchise’s all-time leader in scoring and games played. “I’m not going to get into specifics or anything like that. There’s always been rumors in my career. I don’t really want to feed into it anymore or comment on it. I don’t want it to become a distraction or anything.”

Is the report that he would be willing to accept a trade to the Ducks, Kings or Rangers accurate?

“I’m not going to speculate or get into it too much. I’d just rather not feed into it,” said Marleau, who didn’t practice on Wednesday due to lingering flu symptoms.

After not having an agent in his previous round of contract negotiations, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that Marleau retained Pat Brisson in training camp. Marleau’s previous agent, Don Baizley, passed away in in June, 2013. If Marleau does indeed want to move on from San Jose having an agent would be a huge help.

He was asked why he decided to go that route.

“I had been looking for agents or advisors,” Marleau said. “I think they are always good to have as players. I had talked to Pat at a time before, and we kept in contact after that. I just felt it was good timing for me to have somebody, an advisor role for myself.”

* * *

There has been no shortage of headlines regarding Marleau for the past several days, since Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday that Marleau’s name was “out there” in trade discussions.

On Tuesday, an NHL source told that Marleau would be willing to play for either the Ducks, Kings or Rangers. On Wednesday morning, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that Marleau, who has a full no-trade clause, was the one “driving the bus that could be headed out of San Jose.”

Why might Marleau want to leave? One theory is that he wasn’t happy when coach Pete DeBoer passed him over as a full-time alternate captain. Although Marleau is now wearing an ‘A’ on some nights, it’s only temporary until Logan Couture returns.

Marleau admitted on Wednesday that while he might have been disappointed initially after having worn a letter for so long, that’s now behind him.

“Obviously, as a human, when you had that in the past and it’s taken away you feel that a little bit,” Marleau said. “But, I think it’s in the past. It’s not going to change what I do or what I bring to the rink every day.”

DeBoer never sensed any feelings of disenchantment from Marleau.

“I never saw that. To his credit, he was very professional about it. The reality is we knew that we had a lot of potential leadership candidates and there are only so many to go around. Where he stands in that group I think is evidenced by the fact that the first time somebody went down, he got a letter.

“He’s an important part, and I think we made that clear right from day one. As far as those feelings, if he told you those were them, I never saw that. That’s a credit to him and his professionalism.”

The Sharks have hit a rough patch with just three wins in the last 11 games, including back-to-back losses at home.

Has his situation been a distraction over the past few days?

“I hope not. It hasn’t been for me, anyway,” Marleau said. “I’ve been through this before.”

* * *

Any trade of Marleau would be complicated, as the 36-year-old forward is in the second of a three-year, $20 million contract.

It’s hard to envision Doug Wilson making a deal with the Kings given the fierce rivalry and feelings of ill will between the clubs.

The biggest hurdle in regards to New York is salary cap space now and in 2016-17. As Freidman pointed out on Wednesday, the Rangers will have to sign several of their up and coming players to contracts over the summer, including Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider and JT Miller. Still, the Rangers have been scouting the Sharks of late, including having representatives at the last two home games.

The Ducks could be the more logical destination, as they are having trouble scoring goals and Wilson has a tight relationship with Anaheim general manager Bob Murray after working closing with him to launch the AHL’s Pacific Division. The Ducks are having trouble offensively, and have a strong stable of young defensemen. That's something the Sharks are sorely missing in their organization at the NHL level and further down.

There’s always the possibility, too, that Marleau could add to his list of acceptable destinations, or, conversely, the Sharks could simply not move him. Every indication is that this is a fluid situation.

The timing is also a bit surprising. If this had happened one year ago it would be much less so, as the Sharks were coming off of their playoff debacle and a subsequently strange offseason in which management’s comments seemed to especially irk Marleau and Joe Thornton. This season, all indications from the Sharks’ dressing room have been that this is a year for redemption under a new coach, and the additions of Martin Jones, Joel Ward and Paul Martin would mean the club would again become one of the NHL’s elites.

That hasn’t happened, as the 7-8-0 Sharks have struggled for consistency after four straight wins out of the gate. They have lost eight of their last 11, all in regulation, falling under the .500 mark for the first time after a 4-2 loss on Tuesday at home to the Islanders. They are set to begin a difficult, season-long road trip in Detroit on Friday.

Joe Pavelski was asked if he thinks Marleau, who has 9 points in 15 games, wants to remain.

“I believe he does,” said the Sharks captain. “I believe everybody in here wants to be a part of it. That taste in our mouth last year wasn’t good. We came back, guys were prepared, we got off to a really good start, things went smooth. We’re in a little bump in the road, but we’ve played games where guys haven’t bailed. That’s encouraging to see.”

Marc-Edouard Vlasic rejected the notion that the Sharks, who missed the playoffs last season for the first time in 10 years, need a personnel change in their dressing room involving their longest-tenured player.

“I don’t think a trade would shake things up, especially if it’s a guy like [Marleau],” he said. “That’s rumors. We need a guy like that on our team to help us win.”

Pavelski said: “We expect Patty to play hard, and he’s a big part of our team. … Until something really happens, these things have been out there before. You show up to play and do your job.”

Sharks' Tomas Hertl, wife Aneta expecting first child due in November

Sharks' Tomas Hertl, wife Aneta expecting first child due in November

I think we’re all due for some good news. So is Sharks’ All-Star center Tomas Hertl and his wife Aneta.

Aneta announced on her Instagram account the two are expecting a baby in November.

The first photo is the two of them posing together with the sonogram picture. The second is of a baby onesie with “Born in 2020” embroidered on it.

This is fresh off the couple's one-year wedding anniversary which, rumor has it, the big day was quite a fun time.

Back in May, Hertl spoke to the media about his rehab after tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee where he vowed he would be better than he was before. But he’ll have to wait.

[RELATED: Ranking Sharks top playoff moments in overtime]

The Sharks will not be participating in the NHL’s a modified 24-team return-to-play format.

That’s OK though, he has something even better to look forward to … a baby Shark. 

NHL expansion draft: Who Sharks might be forced to leave unprotected

NHL expansion draft: Who Sharks might be forced to leave unprotected

We don't know when the next NHL season will begin or end, but once it does, a new team officially will join the fold.

The still-unnamed Seattle expansion franchise will become the league's 32nd team, and in the process, the Sharks will lose a player from their roster as part of the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.

Not everyone in San Jose will be up for grabs. The Sharks, along with the other 30 current NHL teams, will be permitted to protect a group of their players from the expansion draft according to one of two options. Either a) protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or b) protect eight skaters and one goalie.

So, where does that leave the Sharks? 

By narrowing down who San Jose is likely to protect, we can zero in on which players are likely to be exposed.

Automatically protected: Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (no-movement clauses)
Certain to be protected: Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier
Very likely to be protected: Evander Kane

That's six pretty-darn-sure things already, plus an unnamed goalie. So, under this assumption, the Sharks would only be able to protect three more forwards and one additional defenseman under Option A, or just two more skaters under Option B.

Though nearly all of San Jose's top prospects will be automatically exempt due to lack of service time, Jonathan Dahlen -- generally regarded as the Sharks' second-best prospect -- will be eligible for inclusion due to his playing AHL games in 2017-18. So, chances are, they'll protect him as well.

Regardless of which option San Jose goes with, that doesn't leave them many more choices. As such, here are some of the more notable names that the Sharks might be forced to make available to Seattle in the expansion draft:

Brent Burns

What the Sharks decide to do with Burns likely will depend on the trajectory of the team heading into the 2021 offseason. If San Jose successfully turns things around in short order, then keeping the 36-year-old Burns -- who has another four years left on his contract at $8 million per season -- will make a lot more sense than if an extended rebuild appears to be on the horizon.

The Sharks have several large salaries on their books, and making Burns available would be one possible way to alleviate some of that building pressure. Of course, if Burns has a Norris-type season next year, San Jose likely will do everything it can to keep him. More than anything, Burns' performance next season likely will have the most determining effect on who the Sharks make available.

[RELATED: Why Sharks shouldn't be counted out if Eichel seeks trade]

Martin Jones

Assuming he's still on the roster and doesn't have a major bounce-back season, Jones would seem to be one of the more likely inclusions on San Jose's unprotected list. He carries a hefty price tag and hasn't lived up to it for the last couple of years.

Of course, the Sharks don't really have anything in the way of an established goalie behind him -- Aaron Dell is an unrestricted free agent -- so if one doesn't emerge, they might be forced to protect him. If San Jose makes Jones available, that likely means one of the Sharks' goaltending prospects made a significant leap or a free agent outperformed him in the year ahead.

Kevin Labanc

He brings plenty of talent to the table and has been useful on the power play. But Labanc's problem is consistency. On some nights, he's one of the best players on the ice. Others, you hardly notice him. He bet on himself last offseason, but it didn't appear to pay off.

A restricted free agent, San Jose should be able to re-sign him at an affordable price. He still is only 24 years old, though. Should Labanc take a couple steps forward next season, it likely will come at a discount, which the Sharks would likely want to protect. If he's ultimately made available, he could offer the combination of youth and talent that would pique Seattle's interest.

Stefan Noesen

Acquired early in the season, Noesen, 27, made a strong impression during his first year in San Jose. He provided the occasional offense, scoring six goals in 34 games, as well as some sorely-needed toughness. He also immediately became a leader in the locker room.

Noesen currently is an unrestricted free agent, but it would be surprising if he didn't start next season in a Sharks sweater, and he shouldn't be too costly either. If he can build off this past season's performance, one would imagine San Jose would prefer to keep him around. Who else the Sharks protect likely will determine if he can be protected or not.

Dylan Gambrell/Antti Suomela/Alex True

Gambrell has accomplished the most of the three, but he's running short on time. A restricted free agent at the end of next season, he'll be eligible for inclusion in the expansion draft if he plays in at least 20 games. Unless he breaks out, Gambrell seems likely to be one of the names the Sharks leave unprotected.

You could say the same thing about Suomela -- assuming the restricted free agent is re-signed -- who has notched four goals and 11 assists over 47 NHL games across the last two seasons. He's still only 26, but has yet to live up to his potential. True, on the other hand, is younger (22 years old) and was fairly noticeable over the course of his NHL debut this season. He should have a good opportunity to begin the season with San Jose, and would seem to be the most likely of the three to carve out a long-term role with the big club.