The franchise leader of the San Jose Sharks is the subject of our third august prediction for the month of the same name…
Fresh off reaching their first Stanley Cup final, the San Jose Sharks are expecting big things for the 2016-17 NHL season. All expectations can only be set after the roster is thoroughly examined.
Of course, that starts with who does and does not make the roster. That should seem pretty set after just four Sharks to play in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs left the team. The four of them played a sum total of 851 minutes over 24 postseason games.
San Jose general manager Doug Wilson actually landed more than he lost at forward and his blue-line replacement is more of a new direction than an improvement or loss. He has left the backup goalie to be filled with in-house talent—at least for now.
If free agent Mikkel Boedker is the only addition to the forwards used during the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Sharks would have enough to fill all 12 spots. With young players like Timo Meier, Barclay Goodrow and Nikolay Goldobin pushing for time, there might seem a need to push a familiar face out.
CSN Bay Area Insider Kevin Kurz has frequently mentioned the possibility that face is the one most associated with the franchise. Patrick Marleau reportedly agreed to waive his no-movement clause for a trade to either the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks or New York Rangers last autumn.
Anaheim or Los Angeles would be just an hour away from the only home Marleau has ever had as an adult. New York is his son’s favorite team, and that probably even includes the one his dad has played his entire career for.
Kurz continues to mention this despite the notion that reaching a Stanley Cup final might alleviate some morale issues. He has cited a comment head coach PeterDeBoer made during the postseason that his job was not to make Marleau happy.
The only thing is, that was in reply to a comment about placing Marleau on the third line. That does not mean the franchise player was unhappy.
Prediction No. 3: Patrick Marleau plays the entire 2016-17 NHL season where he has every season of his career—with the San Jose Sharks. Were this not a list restricted to this season and predictions that can be reasonably foreseen, the statement would have been extended to him finishing his career with the franchise. The fact is, there are too many variables to accurately predict that but it has to be the ideal path for all parties.
Marleau was still a productive player this last season and is versatile enough to consider for anything from the wing on the deadliest man-advantage unit in the world all the way to centering the checking line. He is not worth nearly $7 million, but he sells tickets and merchandise, is great in the community and does not stop the Sharks from building a title-worthy roster around him.
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Not many players get a chance to play entire Hall of Fame careers with one team. (Nearly 500 goals and over 1000 points is going to get him in unless he goes from his slow and steady decline to a precipitous one that prevents the former accomplishment from happening.) Moreover, Marleau has a chance to get a Stanley Cup in the process.
Were the Sharks not good enough, he could certainly waive his no-movement clause for a Stanley Cup run somewhere else at the upcoming trade deadline. It seems unlikely another team will give up what is needed to make this trade worthwhile for Wilson.
If Marleau is still unhappy or Wilson still unhappy with him, the parties could go separate ways next summer when he is a free agent. There is a good chance he finds his way to centering the checking line for a good portion of the 2016-17 NHL season and that his next contract in San Jose would reflect that role in terms of compensation. That may not be satisfactory.
Still, it would be a shame if Marleau scored his 500th goal (probably early in the 2017-18 NHL season) in a different sweater. It hearkens another 500-goal scorer leaving the only franchise he ever played for when Mike Modano joined the Detroit Red Wings.