Marc-Edouard Vlasic

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 11:  Patrick Marleau #12 of the San Jose Sharks is congratulated by teammate Joe Thornton #19 after he scored in the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 11, 2017 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Getty

Sharks have reason to wait on Thornton, Marleau extensions

1 Comment

Two of San Jose’s most important and longest-tenured players, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, are set to become unrestricted free agents this summer.

Given the Sharks are in the midst of their Stanley Cup window — with Thornton and Marleau playing significant roles — it seems odd neither has put pen to paper on an extension yet.

But the Mercury News has a theory on why:

Here’s where it gets interesting. Next season, the NHL is adding a new team, the Vegas Golden Knights. That franchise will participate in an expansion draft. It will happen in June, a few days before the annual entry draft.  Each existing NHL team can protect either seven or eight forwards from being selected by the Golden Knights. However, pending unrestricted free agents will not be eligible for the expansion draft.

In other words, it behooves Wilson and the Sharks not to sign Marleau and Thornton until after the expansion draft. That way, the two players would not count toward the seven or eight forwards on the Sharks’ protected list (the exact number depends on choices the Sharks make at other positions.)

San Jose’s in a fairly unique position for the expansion draft. It is one of four teams not required to protect anybody — Calgary, St. Louis and Washington are the others — and, with the addition of the aforementioned Thornton-Marleau scenario, GM Doug Wilson would have serious flexibility when it comes to exposing players.

Not that he’s willing to divulge any information.

“My position is that I have no comment on that,” Wilson told the Mercury News. “People can anticipate and speculate about what our approach might be.”

ESPN touched on this potential scenario last month, noting that Wilson has some big decisions to make regardless if he chooses the seven forwards-three-defensemen-one goalie protected list, or the eight-skaters-and-a-goalie setup:

If you go 7-3-1, it means you protect just three defensemen — Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and probably Justin Braun — which then leaves Paul Martin, Brenden Dillon, Mirco Mueller and David Schlemko among those exposed.

What if the Sharks decide to go the 8-1 protection format route in order to protect four defensemen? That means only four forwards could be protected: Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl and then take your pick from either Mikkel Boedker, Joel Ward, Melker Karlsson or Chris Tierney. (Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc are exempt.)

The risk in letting Thornton and Marleau get to free agency, of course, is that someone makes an offer neither can refuse. But it could be a risk worth taking. It’s fair to assume any potential offer would have to be massive in scope, given Thorton’s and Marleau’s ties to the Bay Area — the latter has spent his entire 20-year career with the Sharks, while the former has been there for over a decade.

Right now, there’s not much information about what type of extensions San Jose is offering. ESPN reported Thornton is eyeing another three-year deal — his last was a three-year, $20.25 million contract — and things are almost entirely silent on the Marleau front.

Video: Jonathan Drouin turns on the jets, scores ‘big time’ goal vs. Sharks

Earlier this week, Jonathan Drouin turned in an assist of the year candidate on Tyler Johnson‘s goal against the Kings.

Last night, he used his speed to score one of his own, and you’ll want to watch it over and over again.

With the Bolts trailing 1-0 in the second period, Drouin skated through the neutral zone before re-entering the Sharks’ territory and going around Marc-Edouard Vlasic like he wasn’t even there. As he got around Vlasic, he cut to the net and beat San Jose backup goalie Aaron Dell (top).

The 21-year-old has carried a lot of the offensive burden with Steven Stamkos out of the lineup. He’s collected seven points in his last seven games, and he’s up to 14 goals and 30 points in 39 games this season.

Unfortunately for the Bolts, that was the only offense they could muster in this one, as they ended up losing the game 2-1.

“That’s just a big time skill play by a big time skill player,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said of the goal, per the Tampa Bay Times.

Vlasic on IR after taking slapshot to face

Tough start to the year for Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Vlasic, who took a Shayne Gostisbehere slapshot to the face in a game against Philly on Friday, has been placed on injured reserve and will miss at least the next two games, per the Mercury-News.

The incident occurred late in the third period of San Jose’s 2-0 win, when Gostisbehere’s shot rode up Joel Ward‘s stick and struck Vlasic. The veteran d-man tweeted out a picture of the damage shortly thereafter:

With Vlasic set to miss Tuesday’s game against the Kings and Thursday’s against the Wild, Mirco Mueller has been recalled from the AHL Barracuda.

It’s unclear how head coach Peter DeBoer will deploy his defense in the wake of this injury. In addition to Vlasic, David Schlemko was also absent from Monday’s practice, so the pairings were makeshift.

Whatever the case, DeBoer has a big hole to fill. Vlasic sits second on the team in TOI per game — trailing only Brent Burns — and is regarded as the club’s top shutdown defenseman.

 

Sharks’ Vlasic injured after taking slap shot to face

2 Comments

Scary moment late in the third period of the San Jose Sharks’ 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night when defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was hit in the face by a Shayne Gostisbehere slap shot, resulting in a nasty cut that left a pool of blood on the ice.

In happened with just under 30 seconds to play in the game when Vlasic, positioned in front of the net, was hit high by the shot and immediately dropped to the ice. Every player on the ice at that time immediately stopped playing and signaled to the Sharks bench for the trainers.

You can see the entire play in the video above.

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer had no immediate update on Vlasic’s status after the game.

“I don’t know yet for sure,” said DeBoer, via CSN’s Kevin Kurz. “It looks, as bad as it looked and as bad as it probably is I have got my fingers crossed. The initial reports are that I don’t believe it’s that serious, so that’s good.”

DeBoer also said that he doubts that Vlasic will travel with the team to Los Angeles for Saturday’s game against the Kings.

Vlasic has appeared in 35 games for the Sharks this season with three goals and six assists. He assisted on the Sharks’ first goal on Friday, helping to set up Patrick Marleau‘s power play goal late in the first period.

More: Flyers’ Mason leaves game with apparent hand injury

Vlasic fined, not suspended, for ‘dangerous use of stick’ on Karlsson

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 19:  Marc-Edouard Vlasic #44 of the San Jose Sharks during the first period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on November 19, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty
1 Comment

Mike Hoffman ended up receiving a two-game suspension from that bitter San Jose Sharks – Ottawa Senators game, but Marc-Edouard Vlasic will only lose money for his actions.

The NHL announced that Vlasic will receive the maximum allowable fine of $5K for “dangerous use of the stick” on Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson.

That infraction prompted Sens forward Kyle Turris to go after Vlasic in an unlikely – but understandable – skirmish.

Here’s the altercation where Vlasic used his stick dangerously, as the league would say:

Now watch what Karlsson had to say about it:

Senators fans probably aren’t happy that Hoffman was suspended for two games for cross-checking Logan Couture while Vlasic only received a fine, but fair or not, that’s what happened.