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.