February 09, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thorton (19) skates with the puck while be defended by Phoenix Coyotes right wing David Moss (18) during the first period at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Sharks Possible Return For Joe Thorton

There has been a lot of talk this offseason about what the San Jose Sharks are going to do with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau after the humiliating playoff exit, and a lot of Sharks fans are afraid that the front office could be thinking of trading them. Despite this, I highly doubt either will be on the move. I feel people overreacted to what Doug Wilson said. When he said “leadership changes” and “giving bigger roles to the younger players” he did not mean trading away two players he just resigned and gave no trade clauses. He probably just meant stripping the C from Thornton and giving it to someone else. John Thornton, Joe’s agent and brother, says that the only way Joe will remove his no trade clause is if he feels the fans of the Sharks do not want him anymore. Considering the support he has received since this news appeared, and all of the fans saying how they want Joe to stay, I seriously doubt the greatest player to put on a Sharks sweater is going anywhere. But if he were, what could they get in return?

Apparently, a bunch of teams are interested in the San Jose Sharks captain, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks have been listed as front runners. So what could the San Jose  Sharks get from either team?

Joe Thornton, despite his age, is still playing at a premier level in the NHL. Either team would have to give the Sharks some quality draft picks, or some really great prospects. The Maple Leafs seem likely to part ways with Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner. Gardiner was seldom used in Toronto, and you can’t forget his agents famous #FreeGardiner rant on Twitter, and the Leafs captain, Dion Phaneuf, is also being shopped around. The odds of the Sharks getting all three of those players is unlikely. But even just getting Kadri and Gardiner, who are both 23 years old, would be a nice addition to the team. Gardiner would be greatly appreciated knowing what the Sharks need defensively.

In Chicago, things are a bit different. There isn’t much talk about who they’ll trade and whoever is on the trade market other than Patrick Sharp. Patrick Sharp had a great season with Chicago, and there’s a good chance he’d be packaged in the Thornton trade as well. The Blackhawks need to resign both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, so they will need to make some room. A player I would really want the Sharks to get from Chicago is Brandon Saad, but because of his amazing breakout year this season, it seems likely he has ended up on the “no trade” list for Chicago.

All of this is hypothetical though. The support Joe has gotten from what his agent has said has been overwhelming, and even if the Sharks wanted to move Joe, with the way the fans in San Jose have shown how much they want him, he won’t get rid of his no trade clause.

He might lose his captaincy though. If he does, here are some options on who can take it over.

Third Best Option: Logan Couture

Logan is a great young forward on the San Jose Sharks, and Doug Wilson has said he’s the future of the team. But he’s still too immature for my taste. Sometimes he lets his emotions get the better of him and he makes mental mistakes. That will all change over time, but I feel he’s not ready to be an NHL captain. And I know people said the same about Gabriel Landeskog in Colorado, but Landeskog is MUCH more mature than Couture is right now.

Second Best Option: Joe Pavelski

Joe is just like Logan, only a little bit older so he is more mature. My only issue with Joe is that he’s too quiet. If you watch post game interviews, he doesn’t really say much or stir the pot. He’s a great player, but he’s not captain material.

San Jose Sharks’ First Best Option: Tie Between Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun

Both MEV and Braun turned into stud defensemen for the San Jose Sharks, they don’t shy away from what needs to be done, and they’re both mature beyond their years. I think both would be excellent options as a captain, but I’ll give a slight edge to Vlasic, just because he’s a bit more experience. He’s been playing with the Sharks for 8 years now, and he’s only 27 years old. He’s ready to step in and become a captain.

Tags: Joe Pavelski Joe Thornton Logan Couture Marc-Edouard Vlasic San Jose Sharks

  • Nathaniel

    Justin Braun as a better option for captain than Joe Pavelski? Boy, you have a real firm grip on this team.

  • Rusty

    Justin Braun as captain? Really? He’s lucky he isn’t a healthy scratch! Captaincy requires followers….you’d think complacent vets like Marleau and JT will follow Braun?! Actually, these 2 will not follow anyone. The only players on the team with any fire are Couture, Wingles, and Torres, but none of them are captain material.

    • Hatrick Marleau

      I think that Couture could step up to take on the role. So far, we’ve had years of a contented, sheep-like Marleau followed by years of an overly cocky, happy-go-lucky JT. I like both of those players a lot and sentimentally hope that we can retain them and STILL win the cup. But they can’t be the main leadership voice anymore. I think Couture, despite his occasional immaturity, would step up nicely.

  • Hatrick Marleau

    I honestly hope we can win a cup with both Marleau and Thornton in teal. Still, I really hope that Joe loses the captaincy. It’s time for a change in leadership.

    For a long time now, Thornton’s interview comments have disturbed me during winning streaks or other great stretches for the Sharks. There seemed to be just a little too much cockiness, saying things like, “Well, we’re just a really good team!” That should be kept internal–an internal cockiness that is so strongly held that you do not feel the need to tell others about it. Now, win a cup or two, and maybe you can be cocky. LA and Chicago, as much as I hate them, deserve to be cocky. Maybe even Boston, despite a few epic crashes that they’ve had in recent years (blowing a 3-0 series lead in ’10; losing in ECQF to 7th place Washington in ’12). I love my Sharkies, but they absolutely have ZERO business being cocky.

    It doesn’t seem to me that MEV, Couture, or Pavelski is captain material. Then again, JT’s voice has been dominant, and we obviously haven’t had a chance to see what leadership under one of the youngsters could be like. Of the three, it seems to me that Couture and Pickles have the greatest likelihood of being able to step up into the role. I favor Couture, as it seems his emotionality could actually be a good thing for a team that was first led by a flat-affect Marleau, and then by a happy-go-lucky JT. Regardless, I think the captaincy and the alternates should be kept within the MEV-Couture-Pavelski trio.

    The concern is whether or not JT would bring a cancerous attitude to the locker room after a demotion. I’m not too worried about Marleau being cancerous–I am worried that his compliance and complacency could serve as a downer for everyone. That said, I think keeping the official leadership within the trio would allow them to stamp out any fires that JT would potentially fuel. Any one of them alone might not have what it takes to stand up to Joe, considering Jumbo’s status–not only is he literally bigger than any of them, but so is his persona as he is more light-hearted, more likeable, and more media-friendly than they are.

    The Sharks roll three lines with a fair amount of evenness in ice time between them (compared to teams with less depth). I hope the coaching staff starts giving Thornton and Marleau something closer to 3rd-line minutes, and perhaps puts them on the 2nd PP unit, as well. I also hope the 1st PK unit is more about the youth. Obviously, Thornton is a 1st-line center, and some people think that skill should speak for itself. But, it’s also clear that SJ’s problem has NOT been a lack of skill, but a lack of that intangible quality that makes players more willing to do anything to win. I think our youth has more of that, so giving them more responsibility on the ice, despite the fact that JT and Marleau and among the best point-producers, seems like it will help them develop more stick-to-it-iveness in crucial game situations, as well as send a message in the locker room that goes beyond swapping letters on their sweaters.

    Anyway, just my opinions. I’m not a coach, and obviously can’t claim to really know s**t about coaching star players. But I have felt for a while that the Sharks leadership has seemed a bit too complacent and cocky when things are going well, only for their confidence to collapse when they face a serious threat. I support my Sharks through the good times and the bad. Here’s hoping for a lot more of the good!