Sharks mailbag: Return of Ray Whitney?

Sharks homestand continues with surging Jets

Sharks mailbag: Return of Ray Whitney?
January 22, 2014, 6:00 pm
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The 41-year-old Ray Whitney has six goals and 14 assists for 20 points in 43 games with the Dallas Stars this season. (USATI)

Programming note: Jets-Sharks coverage begins Thursday at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California

Checking the mailbag, as the second half of the Sharks season is in full swing and the trade deadline draws nearer...

Odds of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle all getting re-signed? (Cole Reece ‏@Creece21)

At this point, I’d say very good. There were some recent rumblings that the Sharks were set to extend Thornton and Marleau, specifically, to three-year deals, and while I can’t confirm the validity of that rumor, I’m told that there’s a very good chance those deals “should get done” at some point. The parties continue to talk. Interestingly, Marleau told me recently he still doesn’t have an agent after his former agent, Don Baizley, passed away over the summer, so it sounds like he’s negotiating his own deal.

Boyle wants to stay in San Jose, but the 37-year-old also wants more than a one-year contract, I’m told.

What do you see the third and fourth lines looking like after the Olympic break when Raffi Torres, Logan Couture and Adam Burish get healthy? (Sumir Saini ‏@Sumiriously)

You have to wonder if Todd McLellan and the Sharks coaching staff are rethinking the original plan to get Joe Pavelski back to the third line center role, with the way that Pavelski and linemates Thornton and Brent Burns are dominating the competition. Perhaps the current second line of Marleau between Matt Nieto and Tommy Wingels, which has had some strong games lately, stays together, and Couture skates with Tyler Kennedy and Torres on another?

That’s just a hypothetical, of course, and I still think that McLellan would prefer to put Couture and Marleau back on the same line together and get Pavelski back to the third line. Recently, the Andrew Desjardins-Bracken Kearns-Kennedy trio has had some good games, but in order for the Sharks to match up with the Kings, Blackhawks, Blues or Ducks, they need a much stronger third line that that. Burish? He’ll have to earn his way back into the lineup after an uneven first season here in 2013.

It will be interesting to see what the Sharks do with their lines when/if they have a fully healthy roster after the break (other than rookie Tomas Hertl), and it will depend on what they do leading up to the trade deadline. That being said…

Could the Sharks go after Ray Whitney at the trade deadline? (Erik Kuhre @Puckguy14)

The rumors are already out there that Whitney could be in play, and the 41-year-old would be the dictionary definition of a rental player. A quick check of the stats says that Whitney has six goals and 14 assists for 20 points in 43 games with the Dallas Stars this season, but lately he hasn’t played among the top six. He’s in the second and final year of a two-year, $9 million deal.

If the Sharks are looking for a left wing to perhaps play alongside Thornton and Burns, they could certainly do worse than the guy who started his NHL career with San Jose way back in 1991-92. No, he’s not the fastest or the biggest guy. But, neither is Joe Pavelski. The two players are somewhat similar in that their hockey sense is off the charts, and even though Whitney is at a more advanced age, I bet he would fit in nicely on that Thornton-Burns line, allowing Pavelski to go back to the third line. And, the Sharks wouldn’t have to send a huge ransom to Dallas to get him (although they might have to clear some cap space). Maybe one of those second round picks they have in the 2014 draft could be utilized in a deal.

The Sharks brought back one former player at the deadline last year in defenseman Scott Hannan, who proved to be a cheap, valuable addition. Maybe they go that route again.

Is Nick Petrecki done as a prospect? Never hear his name anymore. (raj patel @rajp414)

That makes two of us. Petrecki has clearly been passed over by Matt Tennyson and Taylor Doherty, both of whom were recalled in the last few days (although neither has played an NHL game this season). Other players like Konrad Abeltshauser and 2013 first round pick Mirco Mueller in the fold, it’s safe to label Petrecki, chosen 28th overall in 2007, as a first round bust.

But, hey, at least the Sharks got Couture earlier that round. You can’t win ‘em all.

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