Sharks mailbag: Where does Murray stand?

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Sharks mailbag: Where does Murray stand?

Answers to some Sharks mailbag questions on a Thursday afternoon...

Where does DouglasMurray stand with the Sharks?
@davidgil_86

At this moment in time Id say Douglas Murray is sixth or seventh on the Sharks depth chart on defense. Dan Boyle, Brad Stuart, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns will likely comprise the top four, with the two righties (Boyle and Burns) partnering with the two lefties (Vlasic and Stuart).

Justin Brauns place in the lineup is secure his recent three-year contract extension tells you all you need to know about what the front office and coaching staff thinks of his progress and potential. That leaves Murray and Jason Demers as the final two d-men.

Which goalie do you see as more likely to become trade bait this year: Antti Niemi, Thomas Greiss, Harri Sateri, or Alex Stalock?
@bleedingteal

From a hypothetical standpoint, of those four, Stalock and Niemi have the most value. Stalock is probably one of the better NHL goalie prospects still in the minor leagues, while Niemi, despite a down year last year, still has a Stanley Cup ring stashed away somewhere. Sateri and Greiss, while still young, wouldnt bring a whole lot in return.

If the Sharks are trying to upgrade their NHL roster, Stalock could be an attractive commodity to a team lacking young goalie prospects. At the same time, Niemis struggles last season probably give the Sharks that much more incentive to keep Stalock in the fold. After all, he did win his only NHL appearance late in the 2011 season (in relief of Niemi), and its not a stretch to think that if Niemi falters again this season Stalock could get a real shot at the main job.

Is Dominic Moore still on the table?
@BIGBIGBIGG

Id say theres still a fair chance Dominic Moore returns to the Sharks, but Moore has much bigger and more important things to deal with at the moment with his wifes illness. If Moore decides he wants to play this year, I wouldnt be surprised in the least if a phone call to Doug Wilson is his first.

Although Moore wasnt very effective after a February trade with the Lightning brought him to San Jose, I think back to what Moore said before his first game with the Sharks: If I could have picked one team to go to in the entire league, this would have been it, he said on Feb. 17. Im really excited to be a part of this group. Ive watched from afar for a few years now and this team has been one thats really impressed me for the last few years.

Even with the recent news that Michal Handzus battled a hip injury most of last season, Moore would be an upgrade to the 35-year-old Slovakia native as a potential third line centerpenalty killer.

Any word on Brad Winchester? Curious why his time on the ice was cut so drastically. I liked his style of play and would love to see him stay in San Jose.
Kristina Schroeder

I would be shocked if Brad Winchester returns to the Sharks, as the coaching staff seemed to sour on him late in the season. He certainly showed a tendency to stick up for his teammates and deposit a goal here and there with his underrated shot, but if the Sharks wanted him back, they would have gotten a deal done by now.

If you had to speculate on someone to "come out of nowhere" & make the Sharks roster (maybe a college free agent) who would it be?
@RotinajDrAcula

This might not be a popular answer, and its not exactly an out of nowhere name, but I can tell you that the organization wants to give 25-year-old John McCarthy a real chance to make the opening night roster and have an impact next season in some capacity.

McCarthy has failed to leave much of an impression in 55 games with the Sharks over three seasons, with just two goals and two assists for four points. That includes 10 scoreless games this past season.

Why hasn't James Sheppard signed his qualifying offer?
@katylady23

Thats a pretty good question, since James Sheppard certainly doesnt have many options after not playing NHL hockey for the last two seasons. Doug Wilson has already said he expects Sheppard to challenge for a roster spot next season, and after San Joses willingness to take on the responsibility of Sheppards rehab, one would hope that Sheppard and his agent realize he doesnt deserve anything much more than the NHL minimum at this point (or whatever it is San Jose is offering).

For the record, Brandon Mashinter, Nick Petrecki and Tim Kennedy also have yet to officially sign after they were extended qualifying offers earlier this summer.

Sharks' Marleau strengthens his case for Hall of Fame with career night

Sharks' Marleau strengthens his case for Hall of Fame with career night

Whether Sharks all-time leading scorer Patrick Marleau is worthy of the Hockey Hall of Fame is a subject that can be hotly debated in sports bars throughout North America.

Monday’s performance in Colorado gave some major ammo to the side that argues in his favor.

Marleau had one of the greatest single game performances of his 19-year career, scoring four goals – all in the third period – of the Sharks’ 5-2 win over the Avalanche. 

How rare is four goals in a single period? It’s happened just 12 times, the most recent of which was Mario Lemieux on Jan. 26, 1997 at Montreal, according to Elias. Just five months later, a teenage Marleau would be drafted by the Sharks with the second overall pick.

Marleau spoke with NBCSN and CSN analyst Bret Hedican after the game.

“Everything seemed to click there in the third,” he said. “Some really good plays from a lot of different players. Was able to finish them off.”

What seemed to spark Marleau was a line change by coach Pete DeBoer to start the final frame, after the Sharks had managed just four shots in the second period, and 13 through 40 minutes. Marleau was taken off of the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski line, and put on the left side of the Logan Couture line, with Mikkel Boedker on the other wing.

Boedker’s hard work in getting the puck to the point resulted in Marleau redirecting a hard Marc-Edouard Vlasic pass to the front of the net to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish.

He scored three more from there: a wraparound, a two-on-one with Pavelski, and a breakaway.

Switching lines is not unfamiliar to Marleau, who has played up and down the Sharks lineup this season after spending most of last season as the third line center.

“I play a bunch of different positions. Over the years you get a little experience and you know how to handle those situations,” Marleau said of his versatility. “It was a fun period.”

Vlasic said: “He was everywhere in the first two periods, and all of a sudden he exploded in the third. … He’s fast, he’s skilled. There’s a reason he can score four.”

Marleau’s second goal of the night was the game-winner, and even that was a bit historic. It was his 96th career game-winning goal, and he’s now tied for 10th all-time in that category with Mats Sundin (courtesy Darin Stephens). He is already one of just three players to have a game-winning goal against 29 other teams (Sundin, Brendan Shanahan), after getting one against Philadelphia on Dec. 30.

Four of Marleau’s five career hat tricks have come on the road, including his most recent one, also at Colorado on Nov. 20, 2011. He is just the third Sharks player to record four goals in a game, joining Owen Nolan and Tomas Hertl, and is the first to do it in a single period.

Marleau now sits just three goals from 500 in his career. Reaching that milestone seemed like a tossup to start the year, but now it’s virtually inevitable that he’ll become just the 45th player to reach that lofty mark before the end of the season.

He remains, of course, the Sharks’ all-time leader in games played (1459) and points (1059).

It all adds up to a few extra strides towards that hockey cathedral in downtown Toronto.

Instant Replay: Marleau's first four-goal game powers Sharks past Avs

Instant Replay: Marleau's first four-goal game powers Sharks past Avs

BOX SCORE

In five consecutive periods against Colorado, the Sharks’ “captains line” of Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau had done next to nothing.

But a third period line change sparked one of them. Big time.

After getting bumped to the second line, Marleau scored a career-high four goals, all in the third period, leading the Sharks to a 5-2 win at Pepsi Center on Colorado on Monday.

On the first, Marleau was left alone in front of the net and redirected a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot-pass from the point at 2:53 of the final frame. That gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead.

Marleau’s second of the night came just three minutes and four seconds later. He faked to the net, but quickly shifted behind the cage and tucked it inside the post on his backhand before goalie Spencer Martin could seal it off.

The 19-year-veteran completed the hat trick at 10:35, stepping out of the penalty box and finishing off a two-on-one with Pavelski to push the Sharks’ lead to 4-1.

A goal by Colorado’s Nikita Zadorov brought the Avalanche back to within 4-2, but Marleau’s breakaway goal at 16:23, going from his forehand to his backhand, capped the scoring.

Marleau’s most recent hat trick also came in Colorado on Nov. 20, 2011. It was the fifth of his career, four of which have come on the road, as he upped his career total to 497. 

Only two Sharks have ever recorded four goals in a game – Owen Nolan on Dec. 19, 1995, and Tomas Hertl on Oct. 8, 2013.

The Sharks won a season-high fifth in a row, while Colorado dropped its sixth straight.

Brent Burns’ team-leading 20th goal opened the scoring. After David Schlemko rimmed it around the wall behind the Colorado net, Burns gathered it in and quickly fired it towards the goal from a sharp angle. Martin wasn’t able to stop it with one minute to go in the first period.

Burns continues to lead all NHL defensemen in scoring, and has 13 points in his last nine games (5g, 8a).

Colorado got the equalizer in the second period, when Jarome Iginla buried a seam pass from Mikhail Grigorenko at 10:02 on an Avalanche power play.

There were just eight shots in the second period – four per team – and shots were just 13 apiece at the second intermission.

The Sharks beat Colorado at home on Saturday, 3-2, in the only other meeting between the teams this season.

Special teams:
The Sharks finished 0-for-4 on the power play, including a long five-on-three in the third period. They are just 9-for-76 on the road this season (11.8 percent).

Colorado went 1-for-4.

In goal:
Jones improved to 6-1-0 in his last seven starts, with 26 saves.

Martin, who made his NHL debut on Saturday in San Jose, fell to 0-1-1 in his career with five goals allowed on 24 shots.

Lineup:
The Sharks lost Joonas Donskoi in the first period. He was hammered along the wall by Colorado’s Andreas Martinsen, and seemed to be favoring his right arm as he left the ice. Donskoi missed three games earlier this month with an upper body injury.

Timo Meier made his return to the lineup after missing a pair of games with an upper body injury. He started on the fourth line with Tommy Wingels and Melker Karlsson, while Ryan Carpenter – who had points in each of his last two games – was scratched.

Colorado was without center and second-leading scorer Matt Duchene with a reported flu. The Avalanche were forced to play with just 17 skaters.

Up next:
San Jose makes its first of two visits to Winnipeg on Tuesday night in yet another back-to-back situation. The Sharks, who skated past the Jets 5-2 on Jan. 16 at SAP Center, are 5-3 in the second game when playing on consecutive nights.

Edmonton visits the Sharks on Thursday in their final game before the All-Star break.