McLellan on Blues goalies; Clowe update

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McLellan on Blues goalies; Clowe update

SAN JOSE Its still undetermined whether Brian Elliott or Jaroslav Halak will be in net for the Blues when they host the Sharks in Game 1 of their first round series on Thursday, but Todd McLellan doesnt seem overly concerned.

Their team doesnt play any different. Their goalies are a little bit different size-wise and the ability to play the puck and that type of stuff, he said. Thats a situation that were aware of, that they have the two, and theyre capable of playing two.

The coach has used baseball analogies in the past, but looked towards the NFL this time in discussing the Blues goalie situation.

Its a little bit like the Mark Sanchez - Tim Tebow situation in New York, two very good quarterbacks that both want to play, McLellan said, referring to football's Jets. I guess the trick there is figuring out who the team is comfortable playing in front of, and playing that guy. Sometimes, its a hard thing for a coach to do.

Its been reported that Elliott is nursing an upper body injury and missed the second half of Blues practice on Tuesday, but that its not serious.
RELATED: Blue notes -- Goalie Elliott injured

Clowe misses another skate: Ryane Clowe still hasnt skated with the team after missing the third period of Saturdays 3-2 overtime win against the Kings.

McLellan reiterated today that he expects Clowe to be fine for Game 1.

"Im assuming hes playing. Hes had a couple of maintenance days, and I think when we put the gear on, youll see Ryane Clowe out there.

The Sharks have one more practice at their facility on Wednesday before a flight to St. Louis, as well as a morning skate on Thursday at Scottrade Center. Could Clowe be on the ice for either of those?

I believe he will. That will be up to him, and how hes feeling, McLellan said.

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

The Sharks have issued qualifying offers to restricted free agent forwards Chris Tierney, Marcus Sorensen and Barclay Goodrow, while cutting ties with three players in the system.

Tierney, 22, posted 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 80 games last season, serving primarily as the fourth line center. He has 64 points (24g, 40a) in 202 career games over three NHL seasons, all with the Sharks.

Sorensen posted one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Sharks last season, his first in the NHL. The 25-year-old played in all six playoff games against Edmonton, scoring one goal and one assist.

Goodrow, 24, skated in three games for the Sharks last season with one assist. He has 16 points (4g, 12a) in 77 games over three seasons with the Sharks, although has played in just 17 NHL games since the start of the 2015-16 season.

Forward Nikita Jevpalovs, defenseman Patrick McNally and goalie Mantas Armalis - also known for his career as a male model - were left unqualified and are now unrestricted free agents.

Earlier in the offseason, the Sharks signed pending restricted free agents Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. Donskoi received a two-year deal at a salary cap hit of $1.9 million, while Karlsson was signed to a three-year deal at $2 million annually.

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Their futures with the Sharks more uncertain than ever, pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are now free to take calls from other teams to gauge their potential interest.

Nothing can be signed with a new team before July 1, and there is a ban on discussing terms of any potential deal. Teams have already reached out to Marleau, per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, while Thornton is also reportedly receiving interest around the league.

While they could still return to the Sharks, it’s new territory for both, as neither Thornton nor Marleau has ever tested the unrestricted free agent waters. Most recently, they agreed to three-year contract extensions with the Sharks on the same day – Jan. 24, 2014 – in what was the final year of their current deals.

Whether they return to the Sharks could depend on the length of the deal. If other teams are willing to offer multiple-year deals to Thornton and Marleau, it makes their return to the Sharks less likely – particularly in Marleau’s case. Earlier in the offseason, NBC Sports California confirmed that Thornton was seeking a three-year deal, while Marleau preferred a deal of at least three years.

General manager Doug Wilson’s top priority this offseason is to re-sign goalie Martin Jones and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long term extensions. Those contracts would likely cost the team a combined $12-14 million, and would begin in the 2018-19 season.

There is an added risk to any team that signs a player over the age of 35, as it would be on the hook for the entire salary cap hit regardless of whether that player is active (unless that player is on long-term injured reserve). 

Thornton turns 38 on Sunday, while Marleau turns 38 on Sep. 15.