The San Jose Sharks may very well resign Patrick Marleau before the start of the season , even though the word is the two sides are not talking contract right now. Marleau is up to his usual around here. Running the annual captains practices that have become tradition here in San Jose you would think Marleau feels very comfortable and is expecting the two sides will stay together.
For all the trades rumors Marleau has been involved in , he still is a Shark. So until anything is officially announced San Jose continues to have one of the best 1-2 punches up the middle. Patty is a quiet leader , well respected amongst his teammates , and the Captain of one of the top tier teams in the league. He has benefited from the arrival of Thornton , putting up back to back 80+ point seasons. As teams send out their best against Big Joe's first line, Marleau has fed on teams second best. In my opinion this is just where Marleau wants to be. In the role as the #2 center to Joe Thornton , Patty stays out of the spotlight for the most part. He can lead on the bench and gather his troops while Joe does what he does best and baffles other teams top talent.
So now on to why they must sign him. Ok , San Jose has no legitimate #2 center other than Patrick Marleau. Joe Pavelski has shown us signs of a star about to emerge , but is not ready for the full responsibility. Other than Pavelski they have Curtis Brown who is not and will not be a #2 , Marcel Goc who has been good but is only a #3 center in my opinion , Mark Smith is UFA and may not return. The next couple of season are primetime for San Jose who look to have a team that is on the verge of bringing Lord Stanley to town. It would not be wise to go into the season without a quality #2 center.
If Marleau must be traded I feel they should do so before the season while his value is high. They must bring in another seasoned center to help mold the young guys and give them a threat on the second line. How good will Michalek and Bernier be without a quality center feeding them the puck. San Jose can't lose Marleau without getting something for him. They have groomed him into one of the best centers in the league and can't let him walk for nothing. This happens to often when teams have a hard time parting with good TEAM guys. They are only great team guys until they walk away for more money somewhere else. Now don't get me wrong not all are like this , see Joe Thornton's contract for an example. At this day and age when UFA's come at such a high price ,you can not afford to wait and pick someone up in the summer , something should be worked out now.
Stay or go , San Jose will be fine. As a team they look great again this season. I believe too many people underestimate the young defense , and will be surprised by them this year. Milan Michalek is about to become one of the leagues biggest stars this season, just you wait. Joe will do what Joe does and put another 100+ up this year. If Cheechoo returns to form he is going to do big things this year. The Sharks may very well be the biggest offensive power house in the NHL this season.
Cheers to all and to all a great season !