NBCSN’s coverage of the 2020-21 NHL season continues with Wednesday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. Kings-Sharks stream coverage begins at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
The Sharks will likely not make the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Patrick Marleau could provide something for fans to look forward to in April.
Should Marleau not miss any of San Jose’s next 15 games he’ll break Gordie Howe’s NHL record for most games played on April 19 in Vegas. Currently, the Sharks forward sits third with 1,753 games played as Mr. Hockey holds the record of 1,767. (Marleau is also one game away from taking sole possession of fourth place on the NHL’s consecutive games played list, moving ahead of Steve Larmer in the process.)
Barring injury, Marleau will break Howe’s record this season, but the question floating out there is will he do it while a member of the Sharks?
[COVERAGE of KINGS-SHARKS BEGINS AT 10:30 P.M. ET – NBCSN]
The 41-year-old Marleau is on a one-year contract and has only played in the Stanley Cup Final once in his 23-year NHL career. Would he be open to chasing a title elsewhere ahead of the April 12 trade deadline?
“I wouldn’t actively maybe look for it, but if it does happen or it does come, or a team wants me, that’s something you have to seriously consider,” Marleau recently told The Athletic’s Kevin Kurtz. “Obviously, that’s still my goal, to win a Stanley Cup. It would definitely be something to consider.”
In Feb. 2020, just weeks before the NHL paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marleau said goodbye to San Jose to chase a Cup with the Penguins. The move didn’t pan out as Pittsburgh exited after a five-game Qualifying Round loss to Montreal. He retuned to the Sharks in October, but a slow start led to GM Doug Wilson saying he sees the franchise in a state of “reset.” That doesn’t sound like the roster will be a contender anytime soon.
Marleau, who is the Sharks’ all-time leader in games played, goals (519), and points (1,107), will always have a home with the franchise. Could he do a repeat of 2020 where he moves on to play for a Cup and then re-signs with San Jose in the offseason? That plan would depend on Wilson’s feelings toward building a roster for the 2021-22 NHL season and also Marleau’s desire to play another year after he turns 42 in September.
“I’d love to see that. Obviously, it’d be a special thing to be a part of,” said Sharks coach Bob Boughner. “Business is business and I think that Patty Marleau is going to be able to be the one to control what happens. I’m sure that if he wants to stay, I’m sure he stays and if he wants to have a chance to go somewhere else, I’m sure that that opportunity will be afforded to him as well.
“For us, we’ve got to support him and hopefully get to that spot where we see him break the record as a Shark. But moving forward, other than that, that’s really out of our heads.”
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.