In this edition of San Jose Sharks News & Rumors, Patrick Marleau has announced his retirement after an incredible 23-year career. In other news, Elliotte Friedman reported on Sportsnet this past weekend that management had talks with some other teams earlier this season in regards to Erik Karlsson and that they may look to move either him or Brent Burns this summer. Meanwhile, the team announced on Monday that they had re-signed Alexander Barabanov to a two-year, $5 million extension.
Marleau Announces Retirement
It seemed only a matter of time after going unsigned for the 2021-22 season, but on Tuesday morning, Marleau announced his retirement from the NHL. The long time Sharks forward took to the Players Tribune to do so while giving plenty of thanks to former teammates, mentors, and of course, his former teams in the Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Marleau finished his career with 1779 games played, the most of all time. He played 1607 of those games came in a Sharks uniform but also suited up for 164 with the Maple Leafs and eight as a member of the Penguins. Both his 522 goals and 1111 points rank first all-time in Sharks history, while his 566 career goals are 23rd amongst all NHLers. He was also able to play in 177 playoff games as a Shark, registering an impressive 68 goals and 120 points.
Unfortunately, he was never able to fulfill his quest of winning a Stanley Cup, but that shouldn’t take away from a career that many believe will result in him being voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Though he was never able to win a Cup, he did help Team Canada win two Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014, and he also won a World Cup in 2004 along with a World Championship in 2003. It comes as no surprise, but it’s already been announced that his jersey no. 12 will be retired by the Sharks at some point during the 2022-23 season in what will be a big ceremony.
Sharks Exploring Options to Move Karlsson or Burns
Speaking on Sportsnet this past weekend, Elliotte Friedman mentioned that Sharks management had preliminary talks with teams earlier this season about the possibility of moving Karlsson. According to Friedman, the Sharks’ brass has come to recognize that having two elite, former Norris Trophy-winning blueliners in Karlsson and Burns hasn’t worked out as they had originally hoped.
While Karlsson is no longer the game’s best defenceman like he was during his time with the Ottawa Senators, he still managed a solid 10 goals and 35 points in 50 games this season. Unfortunately, injuries have hampered him in recent years, which may make it difficult to trade him, given that his contract still has five more seasons remaining with a very high $11.5 million cap hit.
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Friedman also brought up the fact that management may look to move Burns, who recently said he might be interested in chasing a Stanley Cup in what figures to be his final few years in the NHL. He, too, is no longer as elite a player as he once was, but he did have himself a solid 2021-22 campaign with 54 points in 82 contests.
“The Sharks have made it clear in their GM search that they are still going to contend, but in a tight cap world, this might be a luxury they have to explore [breaking up],” Friedman said. “Burns, in particular, has less term on his contract than Karlsson. They’re both great players. But I think if the opportunity comes to them where they get something like, that is something that everyone is going to have to watch with San Jose and the right side of their D.”
While Burns does have less term on his deal, he wouldn’t exactly be easy to move either. At the age of 37, he has three more years remaining on his contract that carries a cap hit of $8 million. It seems likely that if the Sharks are to move either, they will likely have to add an incentive while also retaining some dollars. It isn’t an ideal situation, but one that may be necessary in order to improve from what has been three straight disappointing seasons.
Sharks Extend Barabanov
On Monday, the Sharks announced that they had signed Barabanov to a two-year extension that will carry a cap hit of $2.5 million per season. The undrafted 27-year-old impressed in his first full season as an NHLer, chipping in with 10 goals and 39 points in 70 games.
Barabanov was acquired by the Sharks from the Toronto Maple Leafs just over a year ago in a deal that saw centerman Antti Suomela head the other way. Given that Suomela spent the entire 2021-22 campaign in the American Hockey League at the age of 28, it is safe to say the Sharks came out on top of this deal. The hope now is that Barabanov is able to continue excelling in each of the next two seasons on a team that struggled to put up offence this season.
Big Decisions Looming
Unfortunately for Sharks fans, there is no playoff hockey for this team for the third straight season. Despite that, however, there are still some exciting things coming in the near future. One of the main will be a decision on a future general manager, as the search is on to replace Doug Wilson, who officially stepped down in April. On top of that, there are other several big changes that could happen in terms of personnel, with names like Karlsson and Burns at the top of the list.