Where will Joe Thornton (and Patrick Marleau) get traded to?
Puck Daddy – Saying goodbye to Boyle, Havlat and making Burns a defenseman again doesn’t qualify as “drastic.” So does this mean any of Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau could be gone? Thornton and Marleau just signed three-year extensions, while “Little Joe” is locked up through 2019.
Going by Wilson’s words, those options will be pursued. But is it a good idea? You know what you have in this Sharks core: a group that can finish near the top of the overall standings on an annual basis. There’s no special ingredient for success in the playoffs. It’s about good goaltending, timely scoring and the fortunate bounce or three.
How “drastic” of a change is needed in San Jose?
Quite the turn of events since being up 3-0 on the LA Kings and re-signing Jumbo and Marleau to respective 3 year deals. With the coach and GM being in place, ownership knows that it’s the top tier pieces that need to be shuffled to succeed. They’ve committed money to Burns, Couture, Vlasic and Pavelski so it would appear it’s the olds dogs who will be on the way out. The higher likelihood is that at least Thornton, the captain with the long storied career of not showing up in the playoffs, would be the one to go but don’t count out Marleau being traded as well even though he has only played for the Sharks in his long career.
The problem isn’t that they’re aging, but rather their no movement clause. Both are 34 and can turn down any trade they dislike, which isn’t to say that they aren’t attractive options to teams (more Thornton) but more that they will probably be in said destination for several years. Being that they are past their primes career wise with no cup victory to their names, it’s a question of how bad they want to win. It seems at times that Thornton is more interested in prolonging his career, avoiding hits and getting points to climb up the all time record books. Marleau on the other hand, the former captain of the Sharks, would either be devastated by a trade or reinvigorated by a trade, with the team in question being a huge factor. Let’s take a look at destinations:
Thornton to the Maple Leafs for Dion Phaneuf: Cap wise, it’s almost an even exchange with the Toronto with the difference being about $250,000. Both signed extensions this year, are both captains of their teams that have underperformed and while one such circumstance has already happened this year (St. Louis/Callahan) it’s could be argued to be a blueprint for this trade. The trade for Marty (w/o question disgruntled) took the Rangers to the finals while Callahan is set in Tampa Bay to build their next phase of team history. Much could be the case in San Jose as Phaneuf would go into a hampered back line that will not have Dan Boyle next year. On the flipside, Thornton would be able to work with an experienced, cup winning coach in Randy Carlyle as well as a bevy of young shooters. My money would be on this happening. Just a question of whether he says yes because even with Thornton, I am not sure that makes them a playoff contender for the Leafs.
Thornton to the New York Rangers for Rick Nash: Another cap compliant trade, with the difference being a little over a $1 million extra for Nash’s salary. Much of this trade will depend on how the Rangers do in the finals, specifically Nash. If Nash underperforms and they lose, the New York crowd would want him out but to replace him with talent to keep them in the finals. If they win and he doesn’t perform, they’re might not be that intense desire to have him out. Ideally for the Sharks, the case is the former. It’s no secret that Doug Wilson has wanted Nash in the past, so the Sharks and their fan base will have a vested interest in the outcome of this final. No question the Kings winning and Nash underperforming would have both sides ready to make necessary changes.
Thornton to the Red Wings for 14th pick/young talent: This is a real variable for any party involved because although the Red Wings lost in the first round to the Bruins, the Red Wings have a tendency to stockpile old guys and the 14th pick is attractive but it would require more pieces and would dependent upon how deep a rebuild the Sharks want to engage in. The Red Wings are still a marquee franchise but are not cup favorites every year. Perhaps the 14th and someone like Brendan Smith or someone to shore up the defense would do it but it’s really a toss up.
Thornton to the Vancouver Canucks for Ryan Kessler: Ryan Kessler has wanted out of Vancouver for some time now and although it works salary cap wise, there’s a difference of about $1.75 million in contract money towards Thornton. There would have to be other pieces involved for it to happen (see the Seguin trade) as well as the question of whether they wanted to trade in division. The Canucks are in turmoil with the firing of Torts and I can see Thornton being hassled to get to Vancouver. The Sharks would have other offers but if Vancouver really was set to get Kessler out of there, it might happen.
Marleau to Who Knows: Patrick Marleau is a real question mark when it comes to trade rumors. Over the past 4 or 5 years, he consistently comes up as a person of interest but nothing ever formalizes. The trade offers aren’t visible anywhere this time around as it’s expected that Thornton will go first and then depending on where and what they get back, Marleau could go as well. Even with his 33 goals and 70 total points, it’s like the high school sweetheart that you can’t break up with well into college. She could be the one and there are other options out there, it’s a real heavy emotional commitment to dump her or stick with her both ways. In their hardest of hearts, I would say the fanbase would want to win with Marleau on the team rather than not, but would still rather win a cup if it meant trading him. Basically the Sharks are Winnie Cooper and Patrick Marleau is Kevin from The Wonder Years. We’re gonna study art history in Paris and Marleau is going to settle down and have a kid, but we’ll never forget our time together. I guess that makes Joe Thornton that goofy Paul guy who ends up going to Harvard (getting a cup).
P.S. Kevin’s Dad passing away as a toss away line is one of the saddest things ever. Guy was a rock of a man.