The Sharks trade rumors about Patrick Marleau appear to have more validity than yours truly believed a few days ago. TSN’s Bob McKenzie and HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman are two of the most respected in the hockey reporting business and so it is difficult to disregard their reports about Marleau apparently being open to a trade to his choice of destinations (he holds a full no-movement clause). That said, the career Shark has never come off as the type of player who would demand/seek a trade out of town and at this point in time San Jose wouldn’t benefit from moving him.
If the Sharks were to trade Marleau they would be selling low. While he is off to a good start this year in terms of renewed two-way play and some highlight reel goals, he is not the same player he was even just two years ago. The Sharks have had many disappointing seasons where it would have made far more sense to trade him over the subsequent summers than it does to trade him now. After all the Sharks are just 15 games into a season after retooling in the offseason with some marquee veteran acquisitions.
Not only would the Sharks be selling low on Marleau but the no movement clause further limits the likely return in a trade. Marleau has to approve any trade and the Sharks would be unlikely to get much in the way of established NHL talent in return. Older scorers often get traded for draft picks and prospects but the Sharks should be looking for NHLers in return given their offseason moves. That said, if I’m Marleau, do I really think going to New York is worth it if the Rangers have to give up Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider?
Hypothetical Deals Don’t Make Sense
Before Rangers fans rip me to shreds, of course that is a deal that New York shouldn’t pull the trigger on but that’s the point. Given Marleau’s age and the fact the Sharks are trying to win now, figuring out a return that makes sense is extremely difficult. Marleau and a draft choice for Rick Nash would make sense from the Sharks perspective but not so much from the Rangers. Acquiring Marleau for a package of prospects and picks would make sense for the Rangers but not the Sharks who are already struggling putting butts in the seats this year. It is hard to imagine the Sharks trading Marleau without getting NHL ready talent back in return. Otherwise, the number of season ticket holders for next season would likely plummet even further.
If the Sharks were ever wanted to move Marleau, the offseasons between the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons (when he was stripped of his captaincy) and the offseason between 2013-14 and 2014-15 (the summer after the reverse sweep to the Kings) would have made sense. A month-and-half into a fresh season with a team that has the talent to make a surge up the standings once Logan Couture comes back would be an extremely poor time to trade Marleau away. Since the return is likely to be underwhelming, moving him would send the message to the rest of the team and the fan base that the season is being flushed down the toilet. If the Sharks are serious about getting back to the playoffs this season and making a run at the Stanley Cup, then they wouldn’t trade Marleau unless it made them better right now and no trade for Marleau is going to do that.