Patrick Marleau, the man with the most career NHL games played without winning a Stanley Cup, is going to get another chance at one. The San Jose Sharks traded the veteran winger to the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday morning, hours before the NHL’s 3:00 PM ET trade deadline. In exchange, the Penguins surrender a 2020 third-round pick.
The Penguins add to their depth and bring a huge veteran presence into an already-experienced locker room. But the arrival does raise questions about the long term health of Jake Guentzel, who is still attempting to come back from a shoulder injury sustained late in December.
Sharks in Sell Mode
The Sharks aren’t where they expected to be this season. When general manager Doug Wilson signed Marleau as a free agent earlier in the campaign, they thought San Jose would be the city where he’d get to pursue the Stanley Cup again. After all, Marleau had played all but 164 of his 1,715 career games on the coast, and it seemed the proper place for him to pursue not only the Cup but also Gordie Howe’s career games played record.
Unfortunately, things just haven’t worked out for the Sharks or for Marleau this season. He’s been fine, with 10 goals and 10 assists in 58 games. But the Sharks have been held back by poor goaltending, with a team .894 save percentage (SV%) that ranks third-worst in the league.
Marleau joins Brenden Dillon as pieces San Jose has sold in the last week. But with hours remaining before the deadline, Wilson may well look to trade other veterans, including potentially Joe Thornton, who might want to join Marleau in looking for another chance at the Stanley Cup with another organization.
Penguins Get Deeper
While few teams need veteran presences less than the Penguins, with Marleau, an already deep forward group gets even deeper. General manager Jim Rutherford won’t underestimate that need, as the Penguins lead the NHL in man-games lost this season. Marleau will join fellow new Penguin Jason Zucker with his new team.
Of course, Marleau will also join Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, two future Hockey Hall of Fame members that have brought the Penguins the Cup multiple times. For a veteran with very few bullets left, it’s the right target. It’s difficult to imagine a better destination for Marleau this season.