This is part of Sharks day at PHT…
Before the 2016 playoffs, there had been a lot of disappointment in San Jose and Patrick Marleau has been there for all of it.
Over the last 18 seasons, Marleau has been the most productive Shark during the regular season. Unfortunately, he’s also one of the players that’s received the most criticism during San Jose’s playoff failures.
Last season, the 36-year-old saw his point total dip for the third straight year. Marleau was still productive (25 goals and 48 points in 82 games), just not as productive as he had been in previous seasons.
It’s no secret that Marleau’s been the talk of trade rumors for years. Even at the beginning of last season, it was reported that he submitted a list of three teams he was willing to be traded to.
“I’ve been here forever and it’s been a great place to play,” Marleau said last November, per CSN Bay Area. “I’m not going to get into specifics or anything like that. There’s always been rumors in my career. I don’t really want to feed into it anymore or comment on it. I don’t want it to become a distraction or anything.”
The Sharks held on to Marleau, and even though the rumors have died down, his days might still be numbered in San Jose (for real this time).
Marleau will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and although he’ll probably make less than his current $6.66 million AAV, it could be the end of the line between these two sides.
Also, the fact that Thornton and Brent Burns both need new contracts after next season certainly doesn’t help Marleau’s case. And in two years from now, Tomas Hertl will be looking for a bump in pay as well.
The odds seem to be stacked against Marleau. If he wants to remain a Shark, he’ll have to take a significant pay cut or have a huge bounce back season.
This is part of Sharks day at PHT…
Earning a roster spot on a veteran team that just went to the Stanley Cup Final won’t be easy, but Nikolay Goldobin will give it a shot.
The 20-year-old was drafted in the first round, 27th overall, in 2014. He has speed and skill and could be ready to make an impact at the NHL level as soon as this season.
Goldobin got his firs taste of NHL action last season, as he scored a goal and an assist in nine regular season games with the Sharks between Oct. 16 and Nov. 22.
Although his agent Igor Larionov admitted that his client wasn’t ready for the NHL last season, it’s a different story this time around.
Goldobin now has a full year of pro hockey under his belt and he his time in the AHL certainly helped too.
Here’s an excerpt from a recent CSN Bay Area article about Goldobin:
Headed into camp, Goldobin may be penciled in to start the season with the Barracudas, but I would imagine he’ll be given every opportunity to shine in some preseason games. As a skilled winger he’ll need to be on a line with a top center, so perhaps he gets a look with Joe Thornton or Logan Couture. There is always the chance Goldobin could push someone like Tomas Hertl, Melker Karlsson or Matt Nieto down the lineup, or maybe even a veteran like Patrick Marleau. It may not happen right away, but if Goldobin starts the year in the AHL and is tearing it up, he won’t have to take a cross-country flight on a recall. That should make some current Sharks a bit nervous.
In his young career, Goldobin has already a little success playing with Thornton:
Although Donskoi’s job appears to be safe, the other two players could become victims of Golbodin’s training camp success.
With everyone healthy, the Sharks likely won’t have a top-six roster spot Goldobin, but potential injuries could fix that problem too.
After years of falling short despite often ranking among the NHL’s pre-season favorites, the San Jose Sharks made their deepest run one year after not even making the playoffs at all.
That thought probably explains why, for many, the pain of falling two wins short of a first-ever Stanley Cup victory is dulled by the Sharks being (gasp) overachievers.
You could call the Sharks a lot of things since Joe Thornton was traded over to sunnier climates from Boston, but rarely were expectations low enough for them to over-achieve.
They did just that in their first season under head coach Peter DeBoer, however.
While their turnaround made less noise than the team that beat them in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, the Sharks echoed the Penguins in finishing the 2015-16 season on a roll. They didn’t let a troubling 18-18-2 mark (as of Jan. 7) derail their season, managing to grab the third spot in the Pacific, exorcising some Los Angeles Kings demons and going on a memorable run.
Here’s another Penguins parallel: the Sharks didn’t really lose anyone of note this summer.
When you get that close to winning it all, standing pat isn’t so bad, although GM Doug Wilson didn’t totally snooze on the job. He added a burst of speed with winger Mikkel Boedker, whose flaws are easier to ignore considering the team’s need for speed and a reasonable $4 million cap hit.
The Sharks also added respected defensive depth in David Schlemko, giving the team an enviable D corps.
Still, there are some lingering questions.
Can Martin Jones back up a strong first season as a No. 1 goalie? Will anything come from yet another round of Patrick Marleau trade rumors? Will a fairly old core of Joe Thornton, Marleau, Joe Pavelski (already 32) and others get creaky after that playoff push?
PHT will address quite a few of those queries on a Sharks Sunday.
Even in an information age where boundless information lies a few clicks away, talented players slip through the cracks.
Jamie Benn won the Art Ross in 2014-15 and came in second place last season, yet 128 players were selected before him in 2007. No-brainer Vezina Trophy-winner Braden Holtby was selected in the fourth round.
We haven’t even covered quality players who weren’t even drafted.
Artemi Panarin stands as an especially mind-blowing example. He went from undrafted free agent to the 2016 Calder Trophy winner after developing – and eventually breaking through – overseas.
As we learned from Vladimir Tarasenko‘s recommendations to the Blues, Panarin was readily available in the summer of 2015, making his 30-goal, 77-point season burn plenty of executives and scouts.
While there are examples of players who fall through the cracks, Panarin feels pretty unusual. Still, NHL Tonight sets out to name a few international players who could make a Panarin-type impact … and, of course, one of those players could suit up for the Chicago Blackhawks:
As defensemen, both overseas signings aren’t likely to make a Panarin-type splash on the scoreboard, but they remain interesting names to watch.
Not quite a Panarin parallel, but …
Allow for a comparison that breaks the rules quite a bit: Alex Radulov stands as likely the biggest impact import of all.
As the 15th pick of the 2004 NHL Draft and with a very high profile, he won’t slip in under the radar like Panarin did last summer.
Still, this is a player who already has 102 points to his name at the NHL level (in 154 regular season games), and despite the playoff drama with Nashville, he also has 14 career playoff points in 18 NHL postseason games.
Honestly, the Radulov signing might be the best move Montreal made during a turbulent off-season.
If any other import can compare to Radulov or Panarin, that team should be very, very happy.
Chances are, we won’t know who to expect, but feel free to name your own choices.