It looks as if all the trade rumors surrounding Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau this offseason can officially be put to rest.
In a recent interview focused on San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan’s take on what the rebuild actually means, he stated that Thornton and Marleau will be part of the future of the franchise.
“I think a lot of people, especially in the media, immediately went to, ‘Well, they’re going to trade Thornton and Marleau.’ That’s not the case,” McLellan said. “We believe that those two are part of the solution, not part of the problem. That got a lot of play media-wise. That’s not what we were about. We think we have a very good hockey club and we think we need to tinker with a few things and continue to push forward.”
Not much more is being said and there has been very little media response to the statement. These two have had leadership roles in the franchise for years and one has to wonder what their future roles will be. I’m expecting someone other than Thornton to be wearing the ‘C’ come the start of the season. But do either of them have the potential to be an alternate?
McLellan also addressed how the leadership roles will evolve:
“Those will be some decisions that we’ll make as training camp approaches, as players get back into San Jose and settle in. We’ll sit with them and talk about that situation. I think we talked about this at the draft, if there was a new rule that came into the League and there weren’t any ‘C’s and ‘A’s, would there be a leadership group that took care of the team and would the followers step in and contribute when they needed to contribute? I believe so. So, with that in mind we’ll see what we do as move forward.”
I actually love how McLellan talks about leadership without the labels of captain and alternate captain. Players need to step it up and show that they have the leadership qualities that the club is looking for. In terms of Thornton and Marleau, even if they don’t wear a letter on their sweater while on the ice, both will still have an impact on the team. Younger players look up to them and value what they say; this will never change.
Even with spectators saying both players are hitting a plateau in their overall playing ability (some even say their play is declining), these two will have significant influence on the team as long as they are still in San Jose.