Marleau: Contract rules would hinder GMs


Marleau: Contract rules would hinder GMs

SAN JOSE There are myriad reasons why the NHL and players association havent been able to reach a collective bargaining agreement yet, as the lockout surpassed the two-month mark on Friday.

The latest point of contention that is seemingly keeping the two sides at odds is player contract rights. Since their first proposal back in July, the owners have insisted on a five-year maximum length for all future deals, as well as no more than a five-percent variance on money from year-to-year. Essentially, the leagues owners want to prevent the kind of front loaded, salary cap circumventing deals that have become commonplace for the most sought after free agents (see Parise, Zach; Suter, Ryan).

Despite making progress on economic issues like revenue sharing and paying out the current deals in full, the owners have not moved off of their contract demands since their opening offer. In fact, its been reported that Gary Bettman said, were past the point of give-and-take in the previous bargaining session nearly a week ago. The two sides are set to resume negotiations on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Sharks center Patrick Marleau said on Friday that those contract demands from the league, should they be implemented, would adversely affect the way league general managers do business.
RELATED: Boyle worried about long-term NHL damage

I think it would be tough for any team to work under those conditions, Marleau said. The salary cap already kind of hindered GMs and what they could do, so you would just be handcuffing them that much more.

That could be true for some teams, but others - likely the majority - would welcome the new rules. And the Sharks are probably at the top of that list.

Its true that some clubs, specifically the big spenders, would have to re-evaluate the way they do business. Only a select few are willing to sign players to decade-long, nine-figure contracts, and it wasnt difficult to figure out which teams would be in play for the best free agent talent each summer. Evening out the playing field with new contracting rules would give many more clubs the opportunity to at least explore adding top-level talent in the open market.

In fact, Marleau plays for a club that may be the absolute best example of why new contracting restrictions might be welcomed.

The Sharks have avoided the kind of deals that the league is trying to outlaw while remaining competitive for many years, making the playoffs for eight straight seasons, including three trips to the Western Conference Finals. There is no Rick DiPietroWade ReddenIlya Bryzgalov contract here, casting a large shadow over the organization's future.

The Sharks have just seven players signed after the 2013-14 season, and four of those will be in the last year of their current deal in 2014-15 (Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Adam Burish are the only players signed after that). A logical case can be made that San Jose is one of the teams pushing for more restrictive contracting rules in order to be more competitive in the free agent market, although an NHL gag order prohibits the team from discussing anything related to the lockout.

Already known as one of the more desirable destinations in the league, the Sharks could become much more active players in free agency than they have been in recent years.

Marleau, incidentally, has two years remaining on his contract with the Sharks that would have paid him 6.9 million this season, making him the second highest paid player on the team. He stated a couple weeks ago that he was exploring options in Europe, but gave the impression on Friday that hes not close to committing to anything overseas at the moment.

Dan Boyle told on Friday that he was concerned about the damage the lockout might have on the sport that has treated him so well over the years.

Marleau, too, is worried that there may be fan backlash whenever the lockout ends. In fact, it may have happened already.

Yeah, definitely. I think theres already been damage and youre going to lose fans, he said. From where we were at, weve taken steps backwards. I think the game was going this way, up and up and up, and where it goes from heretheres going to be a lot of things that need fixing once we do get back to playing.

Joe Pavelski is currently on KHL Minsks injury report, but it doesnt appear to be anything too severe.

In a text message to, Pavelskis agent said his client banged up his knee a bit, but its nothing serious.

In seven games with Minsk, Pavelski has just one assist, six penalty minutes and is a minus-4.

The San Francisco Bulls are down to a single NHL player, and he still has no plans to suit up for the first-year ECHL club.

Defenseman Theo Peckham requested his release from the Bulls this week, as originally reported by CHEDs Dan Tencer, after going scoreless in four games with 11 penalty minutes. Peckham is in the last year of his deal with the Edmonton Oilers and will be a restricted free agent next summer.

Sharks forward Ryane Clowe continues to practice with the Bulls, but its unlikely hell play in a game at this point.

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Editor's Note: The above video is from March 2, 2017

One of the Sharks’ young forwards expected to challenge for a full time roster spot this season has been re-signed.

Marcus Sorensen, who started the year in the AHL before working his way up to the Sharks, signed a two-year contract extension the team announced on Tuesday. A source told NBC Sports California that the deal is worth $700,000 at the NHL level for each of the next two seasons.

In 19 regular season games with the Sharks, Sorensen, 25, posted one goal and three assists. He appeared in all six playoff games against Edmonton, posting one goal and one assist.

In 43 games with the AHL Barracuda, Sorensen had 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points.

"The time he spent with the Sharks this season, and the positive impact he had, proved that he can be an effective player at the highest level,” assistant general manager Joe Will said in a statement.

Sorensen originally signed with the Sharks as a free agent on May 13, 2016. He was originally drafted by Ottawa in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, but spent six seasons playing in Sweden before joining San Jose.

Sorensen was a restriced free agent. The Sharks have just one RFA left to sign in forward Barclay Goodrow.

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Now that the dust has settled on the draft and free agency, here’s a meaty offseason Sharks mailbag before my vacation…

Who will replace Patty's leadership? (philip malan‏ @pmalan1979)

Patrick Marleau was a good example for other players in that he always came to camp in great shape and took care of himself between games, allowing him to be very productive into his later years. 

But let’s not overblow it. From what I understand, Marleau preferred to avoid confrontation, and was never the guy in the dressing room challenging other players to step up. That was left more to guys like Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, with Logan Couture growing into that role in recent years, too. When it comes to veteran leadership there are other guys still in the dressing room of more value than Marleau. His leaving town shouldn’t change the dynamic.

Will Thornton be bumped from the top line center role? Who do you think will replace Marleau on the PP? (Elle‏ @LikeShiningOil)

The whole “top line” designation is something that us writers and broadcasters like to use, and I’m going to keep using it for Thornton so long as he and Pavelski are on the same line. That said, there will be plenty of games where the Couture line gets more even-strength ice time than the Thornton line. I guess my point here is don’t read too much into the labels. I don’t expect Thornton’s ice time to go down from what it was last season. He’s averaged 18 minutes and change in each of the past five seasons, and probably will again.

As for replacing Marleau on the power play, I would tab Tomas Hertl as the frontrunner, but I’m sure the Sharks will try a number of different looks there in training camp. After finishing 25th in the NHL last season they pretty much have to, right?

How will the lines roll this season, if you were to prognosticate now? (Erik Kuhre @Puckguy14)

It seems like we say this every year, but it depends on where the Sharks see Hertl slotting in. Last season Hertl started out on the wing of the top line after offseason knee surgery before moving to center fairly quickly. I know he battled through yet another knee injury during the season, but Hertl’s 22 points in 49 games was a disappointing total.

If the season were starting today, I’d put Hertl on the wing of the Thornton line again with, of course, Pavelski on the other side. Here’s what I’ve got in that scenario:

Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Jannik Hansen – Chris Tierney – Mikkel Boedker
Melker Karlsson – Ryan Carpenter – Joel Ward

Extras: Marcus Sorensen, Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow

(One guy who is really going to have to fight to keep his spot is Ward. I could see him getting pushed out, but for now I’m leaving him in).

Will there be a tough guy in the lineup to protect the kids? (Jim Kelley)

The Sharks signed free agent Brandon Bollig a couple weeks ago to replace Micheal Haley, but I don’t seem him as a regular in the NHL lineup. Bollig could be a guy they recall if they think it’s necessary to dress a pugilist, like when Pete DeBoer brought up Haley late in the 2015-16 season for the sole reason of fighting Darnell Nurse, who had jumped Sharks defenseman Roman Polak just two weeks earlier for no real reason.

Do you think Chris Tierney is capable of more point production at this point in his career? (Ian Stephenson)

Count me among those that thought Tierney was ready to have a better season last year after his strong performance in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Still, he’s just 23 years old, and his line in the series against Edmonton with Meier and Sorensen was a very effective one for long stretches of play. This is a huge year for Tierney, who had to settle for the Sharks’ one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer. Perform, and he’ll get paid. Struggle, and he could be on the move.

Do you think the Sharks will trade either Grosenick or Dell? Doesn't seem Grosenick has much more to prove in AHL. (Chris Greni)

No, they’ll hold on to all three for the time being. Getting Troy Grosenick re-signed to a one-year deal was a nice move on the Sharks’ part, considering Aaron Dell still has just 20 games of NHL experience. Perhaps if they both continue to play well the Sharks could dangle one as trade bait later in the year, but it wouldn’t make sense at this point. 

Any thoughts on DW using the offer sheet to bring in scoring help? There’s several serviceable RFAs out there still waiting for contracts. (Tony Martinico)

Keep in mind that some of those high end RFAs, like Colton Parayko, Nino Niederreiter and Tomas Tatar are currently headed for arbitration, which takes the offer sheet off the table.

Purely speculation here, but I have to wonder if the Sharks have at least kicked around trying to ink Leon Draisaitl to an offer sheet. You have to think Berlin native Hasso Plattner would love to add the “German Gretzky” to the roster. I know we're settling into the part of the NHL offseason where typically nothing happens, but it was July 19 when the Flyers signed Shea Weber to a monster offer sheet five years ago.

And, of course, Doug Wilson has used the power of the offer sheet in the past, signing Niklas Hjalmarsson in 2010 and then using the threat of an offer sheet with Boston to acquire Martin Jones.

Which Cuda player, aside from Meier, Labanc and Sorensen, would you expect to be a dark horse and could make the big team out of camp? (olin @sleepymofo)

Keep in mind that the sixth and defensemen spots are open, too. I would presume that Dylan DeMelo is the frontrunner to replace David Schlemko, but Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan are coming off of strong seasons in the AHL. Perhaps one of them overtakes DeMelo in training camp.

As for other forwards than those you mentioned, Goodrow could end challenging for a spot on the fourth line. I get plenty of questions about Danny O’Regan, too, and perhaps he makes a push. The issue with O’Regan is that although he’s a skilled player in the minors, he’s probably not quite skilled enough to make up for his small frame at the NHL level. I view him more as a fill-in guy.

Any word on [Barclay] Goodrow and [Marcus] Sorenson? I'm assuming they didn't sign their QO's? (DaveBPilot‏ @DaveBPilot)

Yes, that’s safe to assume, since the deadline was Saturday. They remain RFAs, and negotiations will surely continue.

Still, it’s worth mentioning what happened last year with Matt Nieto. The forward didn’t sign his qualifying offer, as he was pushing for a multi-year deal, and ended up signing for one year for less than he would have made had he accepted the original offer. He was waived and claimed by Colorado.