Report: Couture approached by European teams

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Report: Couture approached by European teams

With the possibility of an NHL lockout growing increasingly moredaunting, players are among those left in limbo, waiting to see when and if aseason will begin.That state of limbo could send the Sharks Logan Couture to Europe.According to The Fourth Period, the San Jose center has been approached by teams from the German Ice HockeyLeague and SwitzerlandsNational League A.Couture is not expected to make a decision with his Europeansuitors for a while as he will presumably wait to see how negotiations betweenthe NHL and the Players Association work out, The Fourth Period reported.Couture has become one of the Sharks biggest stars in justtwo full seasons. The 23-year-old had 65 points last season, second on the team,and was selected to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.Coutures 31 goals tied for the team lead with Joe Pavelski. He had fourpoints in the Sharks five playoff games in 2012.Couture is certainly not the only NHL player receivinginterest from overseas, though he is the first Shark to be linked withinternational interest. Dustin Brown, Pavel Datsyuk, Patrick Kane, IlyaKovalchuck, Evgeni Malkin, Teemu Selanne and Jonathan Toews are among the NHLstars that have reportedly been contacted by European teams about playingoverseas if the NHL reaches a lockout.During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, which caused thecancellation of an entire season, 388 NHL players found new homes with Europeanteams, mostly in Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland.If the NHL suffers a lasting lockout this year, would yourather see Sharks players keep in shape playing in Europe or are you worriedabout them getting injured playing with other teams? Comment below!

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.