Todd McLellan

NHL rumors: Maple Leafs, LA Kings have talked Patrick Marleau trade


NHL rumors: Maple Leafs, LA Kings have talked Patrick Marleau trade

There could be a Sharks reunion in the works for Patrick Marleau, just not in San Jose. 

The Los Angeles Kings hired former Sharks coach Todd McLellan on April 16. Fewer than two months later, the Kings reportedly are interested in reuniting McLellan with one of his former stars. 

Marleau could be packing his bags and coming back to the West Coast. The Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs have talked about a potential trade regarding Marleau, The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported Friday. 

Marleau, 39, had a rough year in his second season with the Maple Leafs. The center scored just 37 points, which is his lowest since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. And his 16 goals were the lowest he's scored in a full season since his rookie year. 

[RELATED: Sharks bring back Bob Boughner to coaching staff]

This could get tricky for the two teams, though. Marleau does have a no-trade clause and can ultimately decide his future. 

But Marleau did play seven of his 19 seasons in San Jose under McLellan. There's reason to believe he would waive his no-trade clause and soon become a rival of the Sharks.

Kings hire Todd McLellan, turn to an ex-Sharks head coach for second time


Kings hire Todd McLellan, turn to an ex-Sharks head coach for second time

Stop us if you've heard this before: the Los Angeles Kings, led by a general manager who has Sharks ties, hired a former San Jose head coach to the same position. 

The Kings announced Tuesday they hired ex-Sharks head coach Todd McLellan to replace interim head coach Willie Desjardins, who took over for John Stevens, who was fired by the Kings in November. McLellan's contract with Los Angeles reportedly is worth up to $25 million over five years, sources told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. 

McLellan coached the Sharks from 2008-2015, leading San Jose to six playoff appearances in seven years. He compiled a 311-163-66 record in the regular season, and the Sharks made two appearances in the Western Conference Final in 2010 and 2011 McLellan was Rob Blake's coach in the first of those berths, and Blake -- the Kings' general manger -- is now McLellan's boss. 

After parting ways with San Jose, McLellan coached the Edmonton Oilers for parts of four seasons. He was fired in November after going 123-119-24 behind the Edmonton bench in the regular season. McLellan led the Oilers to one playoff appearance in 2016-17. 

The 51-year-old was behind the Sharks' bench in Stanley Cup playoff losses to the Kings in 2013 and 2014. In the latter instance, San Jose blew a 3-0 series lead in the first round to Los Angeles and the Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup. Those Kings, of course, also had Sharks ties behind the bench and in the front office. 

[RELATED: Pavelski's NASCAR-driving ex-teammate rooting for Sharks]

Dean Lombardi -- San Jose's general manager from 1996-2003 -- and Darryl Sutter -- San Jose's head coach from 1997-2002 -- served in the same positions in Los Angeles. Both are long gone from the Kings' front office, but the Sharks' rivals are hoping a similar approach aids their push back into relevance. 

But these Kings aren't on the precipice of contention as they were during the Sutter-Lombardi reunion. LA has missed the playoffs in three of the last five seasons, and finished with the NHL's second-worst record (31-42-9) in 2018-19.

The Kings have a long road back to the league's elite, and they're banking on a pair of ex-Sharks to lead them there.

Sharks' focus still on Connor McDavid after Oilers hire Ken Hitchcock


Sharks' focus still on Connor McDavid after Oilers hire Ken Hitchcock

SAN JOSE -- Half a day before puck drop, the Sharks found out they’d be facing off against a different coach. 

The Edmonton Oilers fired ex-Sharks coach Todd McLellan about 11 hours before Tuesday night’s matchup at SAP Center. Ken Hitchcock, who has coached more games (1536) than all but four coaches in NHL history, was named his replacement. 

But the change behind the opposing bench doesn’t mean the Sharks are throwing their gameplan out the window. 

“It doesn’t change,” DeBoer said of his team’s preparation. “I think for us the message is we're not gonna change because of the coaching change, other than we have to be aware that their desperation level is going to be ramped up. You know that happens in these situations, and we've gotta make sure that's one thing we're aware of."

The Sharks are familiar with Hitchcock, who coached the Dallas Stars last season and the St. Louis Blues against San Jose in the 2016 Western Conference Final. His Stars were 2-1-0 against the Sharks last year, and controlled 54.33 percent of the five-on-five shot attempts and 57.69 percent of the high-danger scoring chances in those games, according to Natural Stat Trick. 

Yet it’s not clear what, if any, changes Hitchcock will make Tuesday night. Even if the Oilers' structure changes, the Sharks’ focus is clear: Stop superstar Connor McDavid. 

[RELATED: Timo Meier, Connor McDavid helping 2015 NHL Draft live up to hype]

McDavid’s 28 points were tied for third in the league entering Tuesday. The Oilers center scored or assisted on just under 50 percent of the Oilers’ goals in their first 20 games. During that time, Edmonton attempted nearly nine more shots per hour with McDavid on the ice five-on-five than when he wasn’t, and scored 1.56 additional goals every 60 minutes he played. 

The latter difference was more than any other Oiler. 

“We know we have to be ready for defense,” forward Tomas Hertl said, “but we want to score against these guys because if you score against [a line like McDavid’s] they get frustrated because everybody expects them to score. But if we can shut them down, and score against them, that's really good."

Hertl will return to the lineup after missing San Jose’s last two games, and figures to play a lot against McDavid. He played more five-on-five minutes against the former No. 1 overall pick last season than any other Sharks forward, while linemate Logan Couture was second. 

With Hertl matched up against McDavid last season, the Sharks out-attempted the Oilers 35-29, and out-chanced them 20-15. McDavid doesn’t necessarily need to control play to be dangerous, but the Sharks know limiting his opportunities is paramount. 

“Most dynamic player in the league,” DeBoer said of McDavid. “I think [their offense] starts there for sure with him. They're obviously more than that, but he's the one guy that we spend more time when you're talking about prepping for teams. 

“We don't spend a ton of time on individuals, but this is one guy that you do have to spend time on. He's that good."