Sharks

Why former Sharks star Patrick Marleau wants to return to California

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USATSI

Why former Sharks star Patrick Marleau wants to return to California

Patrick Marleau spent the first 19 years of his NHL career with the San Jose Sharks. He arrived at 19 years old and left at 37.

Now it sounds like he wants to come back.

The Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday traded 39-year-old Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes, along with a conditional 2020 first-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round selection, for a 2020 sixth-round choice. But this easily could be a salary dump, as the former Sharks star wishes to be back in San Jose.

Marleau, who still had one year left on his Leafs contract, put his Toronto home on the market earlier this month for more than $11 million, TSN reported. His wife and four sons were on their way back to California, and that's exactly why Canadian-born Marleau wants to be back on the West Coast.

"Everything is based on that -- family," Marleau said in an interview with NHL.com's Mike Zeisberger that ran Monday. "I wanted to kind of be with them. Our one son, it's based on his schooling and what was best for him. It was at the point where my wife and kids were planning on coming back [to California] already. It kind of ties it all together. Hard to explain it all.

"Basically, for the kids' schooling and stuff, we thought we could get the help and support we needed here. With four boys, it's a little bit easier here with family around for my wife."

The Hurricanes could buy out the final year of Marleau's contract, making him a free agent and helping his hopes of being closer to his family in the Bay Area. That's out of his hands, however.

"We'll see what happens," Marleau said. "I'll leave that to my representatives and the Hurricanes to discuss."

Marleau played in all 82 games for the Leafs last season, but it certainly was a down year for the three-time All-Star. His 16 goals were his fewest since his rookie year, as were his 37 points -- outside of the strike-shortened 2012 season.

Despite turning 40, Marleau believes he still has plenty left in his tank. 

[RELATED: Here's why Marleau reunion doesn't make sense for Sharks]

"I could see myself playing beyond this next year. I still feel really good, and I still feel I can contribute," Marleau said. "Last year wasn't a very good year by my standards, so I'm looking forward to proving that wrong. That kind of gets the adrenaline going. You have to prove yourself year after year. I look forward to doing that this year."

If that will be at The Tank in San Jose is yet to be determined.

Sharks' roster hopefuls still 'auditioning' as regular season nears

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USATSI

Sharks' roster hopefuls still 'auditioning' as regular season nears

SAN JOSE - Yes, the Sharks have roster spots they need to fill. Nobody knows that better than Peter DeBoer.

So perhaps it was to be expected when the head coach said more than once after San Jose's first preseason game Tuesday night that he hasn't filled out his final roster for the Sharks' season-opener against the Vegas Golden Knights yet.

 "We're Game 1 into a tryout here," DeBoer said. "An audition. We're not handing out any jobs tonight."

You can't blame him for answering that way. He'd probably love it if everyone outside the team stopped trying to piece his roster together for him. 

Here's the thing: San Jose is just two games into the preseason and has rolled out two different lineups for each game. A roster for opening night will come together, but DeBoer hasn't settled on the exact pieces to that puzzle just yet.

Despite losing their first two preseason games, some of the Sharks' roster hopefuls have done some positive things. Jonny Brodzinski added an offensive punch in Tuesday's game against the Anaheim Ducks while Manuel Wiederer contributed two goals in Wednesday's game against the Calgary Flames. Ryan Merkley pitched in as a helper twice in his first preseason game while Joachim Blichfeld, Ivan Chekhovich and Lean Bergmann also have found the back of the net in the preseason.

Nevertheless, one preseason showing doesn't -- as DeBoer said -- guarantee anyone a starting job.

The Sharks are aware that replacing offensive depth left by the departures of Joe Pavelski, Gustav Nyquist and Joonas Donskoi is a process. In addition to scoring big goals, San Jose also has to be able to sustain offense through a full 60 minutes on a nightly basis. Through the first two games of the preseason, the team has had some difficulty doing this.

"I think we need to sustain more O-zone pressure," Brodzinski observed after Tuesday night's 4-3 loss to the Ducks, a game where the Sharks jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and then took their foot off the gas in the second stanza. "We didn't have a lot of it tonight. I felt like it was more of a neutral zone game. Then we played a little bit too much in our own zone. If we can play down there a lot more, we wouldn't be as tired coming into the late shifts there."

If the idea that San Jose hasn't filled out its roster just yet scares you, keep in mind -- neither preseason game has featured the Sharks' opening night roster. Heck, we haven't even seen Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson or Martin Jones suit up for a game yet. Many of the players who have played over the past two days will be starting the season playing for the Barracuda. 

Plus, even once the regular season gets underway, there still are going to be changes made to San Jose's roster as players move between the AHL and NHL in an effort to give the team the most dynamic lineup. Just think about how many times the lineup changed at the start of last season.

[RELATED: Sharks expecting Meier to step forward in wake of departures]

The Sharks have roughly a week and a half to get into fighting shape before opening night October 2, which includes four more preseason tune-ups that kick off on Saturday with a contest against the Golden Knights. It's very possible DeBoer will roll out a lineup consisting of a few more regular-season starters, along with a few players high on the list of opening night roster additions.

Just don't be surprised if Saturday's preseason game is just another step in the audition process for players on that list.

Sharks expecting Timo Meier to take step forward in wake of departures

Sharks expecting Timo Meier to take step forward in wake of departures

Individual progress of an NHL player should not always be measured in goals. 

Yet it’s hard to ignore Timo Meier’s production: 21 goals in his first full season, followed up by 30 last year. 

“He’s worked for everything he’s got,” Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said of Meier. “I think power forwards take a little bit longer. It’s a harder league for bigger guys playing that kind of game to establish themselves."

“His jump last year was incredible,” fellow forward Barclay Goodrow remarked. “He kind of turned into a whole new player, just more confident. He took some games over, shooting the puck and driving the net. Just things he does well at a better pace.” 

The Swiss-born winger has developed a full-fledged reputation for utilizing all six feet and 210 pounds he’s got. 

“I try to be a physical guy. Try to get in the areas where you might hurt, and try to score some dirty goals,” Meier said at training camp. “I want to get better, that’s always something I try to stay hungry on.” 

Timing plays a critical role in the development of a homegrown product like Meier. The Sharks were able to let him develop in the pipeline, and now he's thriving on the biggest stage. 

“He got there the right way,” DeBoer explained. “You’ve got a guy with a lot of confidence, we’ve added a couple minutes every year to his time on ice. He’s going to take another step this year with the guys that departed. We’re excited to see where he can go with it.” 

And that is the exciting question: Where can Meier take things this season? 

[RELATED: Why Sharks confident they can make up for lost firepower]

“I’m not a guy that wants to put out a number and say I have to score that many goals,” Meier admitted. “I just try to go out and be the best player I can for the team.”