Sharks Mailbag: Equal return for Thornton, Marleau?

Sharks Mailbag: Equal return for Thornton, Marleau?
June 13, 2014, 11:30 am
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Trading either or both of them would be about a culture change, with the ultimate goal of being an elite team again in a few years.
Kevin Kurz

Alex Stalock is expected to compete with Antti Niemi next season for the starting goalie position. (USATSI)

Mike Brown, Alex Stalock, Mirco Mueller, Brad Marchand, and of course, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are among the topics in today's Sharks Mailbag...

Who do you see the Sharks getting in return for either Thornton/Marleau? Who do you believe will benefit the team? #SharksTalk
(Brett Bechthold @brettface)

That all depends on how flexible they are with their no-trade clauses, but at this point, it’s hard to imagine the Sharks getting anything in return that would immediately help them to become a better team next season. The kind of club that would be interested in Thornton or Marleau would be looking to add a final piece to what it believes to be a team that’s close to winning a championship, so it’s doubtful it would want to part with a key ingredient for an aging veteran, even if both Sharks players still likely have some good years left.

I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve seen about the Sharks that make the argument that they will be worse next season if they trade Thornton or Marleau. Yeah, well, no kidding. That's completely missing the point of what Doug Wilson and Todd McLellan have said they want to do this offseason. Thornton centered the Sharks’ best and most consistent line in the regular season, was second in the league in assists, and Marleau is still a 30-goal scorer. Not even management is trying to convince anyone that the Sharks would be better on the ice without that pair, which suggests to me that they may be content getting prospects and/or high draft picks in return. Trading either or both of them would be about a culture change, with the ultimate goal of being an elite team again in a few years.

[RELATED: Maple Leafs, others interested in acquiring Thornton]

What do you know about the Marleau for [Brad] Marchand rumor? #SharksTalk
(Jay L @_Jay_L)

I know that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli already shot it down, per’s Joe Haggerty. I’m not sure how that makes sense for the Bruins, anyway. They’re up against the salary cap as it is, and are reportedly trying to re-sign Jarome Iginla.

Do you think the Sharks should re-sign Mike Brown?

As long as it’s not an Adam Burish-type four-year deal, then yes. Mike Brown plays a role, and played it pretty well down the stretch and in the playoffs -- at least early in the Kings series, when he seemed to get under the skin of Jonathan Quick, among others, in the first three games. Brown is as tough as they come and is a popular guy in the dressing room, and keeping him around for another year or two at a reasonable salary makes sense.

[RELATED: Sharks hopeful to re-sign forward Mike Brown]

I seen some arguments against Brown that reference his poor advanced stats, but if you’re going to judge a fourth line fighter solely on his Corsi rating, well, you’re doing it wrong. Brown won’t play 82 games and won’t score 30 goals a year, but in certain games and in certain situations, guys like him are still necessary in today’s NHL. Toughness, and putting fear into the opposition, still matters. Brown brings both.

Do you expect Stalock to be the starting goalie next season? #SharksTalk
(Jay McKenna @J_CrashCTM)

I expect it to be an open competition in training camp, assuming Antti Niemi returns. I can say with confidence that the beginning of 2013-14 won’t repeat itself, when Niemi started and played in every minute of the Sharks’ first 11 games. Stalock will surely see more time early on, even if he’s not the opening night starter.

[RELATED: Sharks, Stalock working toward new contract]

Mirco Mueller, does he see ice in 2014?
(Chris Soteaux @SotoTTU)

I believe he’ll get a chance to crack the roster. Mueller was hurt for most of training camp in 2013, so it was probably difficult for the Sharks’ front office to gauge his play against NHL players. He’ll surely be one of the bigger storylines in camp, and I, for one, am excited to see how he does. Every indication I’ve gotten from Sharks management is that he’s developing nicely and is on the right path.

Who do you think will be the Sharks' first round draft pick? Or, what position will they go for? #SharksTalk
(Chris Sanbongi @csanbongi17)

We should know more next week, when Wilson holds his annual pre-draft media session on Tuesday. That being said, I remember leaving that session last year thinking the Sharks were going to take a forward, and they ended up choosing Mueller -- a defenseman.

One thing we can say is that Wilson likes centers and defensemen. I don’t see them taking a goaltender in the first round despite Harri Sateri moving on to the KHL, because they’re pleased with Troy Grosenick’s development in Worcester.

When will we hear official word that Havlat has been bought out?
(Tony S. @Sharks4Cup)

The buyout period will begin 48 hours after the end of the Stanley Cup Final. If the Kings win on Friday, Havlat will likely be a former Shark by next week.