Several Sharks to consider Europe if locked out

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Several Sharks to consider Europe if locked out

SAN JOSE The countdown is on, as NHL Lockout 2012 approaches, but the majority of the San Jose Sharks are still enjoying their ice time, workout room and locker room as they prepare for a season that will almost certainly be delayed.
RELATED: NHL Board approves lockout if no new CBA
Theres a good chance, though, that the players who gathered on Thursday at Sharks Ice for another captains skate will be lacing up their skates in rinks in various corners of the world if the work stoppage drags on. The lockout begins Saturday at 9:00 p.m. PST if no deal is reached.

If the owners say they cant play here, there are more than a few options abroad.

KURZ: A call for common sense in NHL labor talks

You want to play games. You train all summer, and thats what you work for, said defenseman Justin Braun, who inked a three-year contract extension in the offseason and admitted that Europe could be an option. You dont want to just keep training. Not that you slack on it, but it just gets old, and you might not have that drive as much. Games really keep you fresh and get you ready for when the season starts here.

TJ Galiardi said: I think everyone obviously wants to play here, but if thats not an option, youve got to look somewhere else. Youve got to stay sharp, because when it eventually comes back, you dont want to be sloppy and a step behind.

It was evident on Thursday morning that some players are remaining more hopeful than others that an 11th-hour deal will be struck, although press conferences from union head Donald Fehr and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman only seemed to establish how entrenched each side is in terms of its respective position. In other words, the sides arent close.

Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, for example, said he hasnt even thought about playing somewhere else yet this fall.

My only thought is to play this year in the NHL, said the 25-year-old. Hopefully we can. If we dont, Ill have to think about it after.

Finlands Antti Niemi and Czech native Marty Havlat have also not given Europe a whole lot of thought, although Havlat said he could likely play for his hometown team of HC Sparta Praha, where he spent the previous lockout in 2004-05.

Well see whats going to happen Saturday, and well go from there, Havlat said.

A report surfaced last week that several European teams have expressed interest in Sharks sniper Logan Couture, who tied for the team lead with 31 goals last season. At just 23 years old and coming off of summer shoulder surgery, Couture seems like the perfect candidate to begin the season overseas if the NHL season is delayed.

Yeah, I think so, if its a long time, Couture said, when asked if hes considering it. Everyone wants to play. Wed have to look at other options if it goes for awhile, so well see when the time comes. We dont know how long or even if its going to happen right now.

Still, Couture said: We want to play in the NHL, this is the best league in the world.

Older players like Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle went through this circus once already. Thornton spent the last NHL season of 2004-05 in Switzerland, where he eventually met his wife and still maintains a residence, while Boyle suited up for a Swedish team.

Last month, Thornton denied a report out of Switzerland (through his agent and brother, John) that he had already made plans to start the season there in the event of a lockout. I asked Joe again today if he had given a return to HC Davos any more thought, now that another lockout is a near certainty.

Not really, he said. Once the owners say hey, youre locked out, Ill probably look at it a lot harder. Until the 15th, Im here and ready to play and thinking about this upcoming season. I havent really thought about going anywhere, and I hope I dont have to. Hopefully they get it figured out."

But...

When that lockout comes, Ill have to think about doing something, yeah.

Boyle wont be going anywhere this time around, opting to stay local and close to his two daughters and wait it out, but he encourages the younger players on the team to explore their options.

Im glad I went. It was a good experience, Boyle said. For the guys that havent gone its certainly its definitely a change. Its a different lifestyle. But, you only live once, so its something to experience.

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.

https://twitter.com/sorensenmarcus/status/887412566447628288

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.