Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are about to enter new three-year contracts that have no-movement clauses. Nevertheless, both remain the top San Jose Sharks talked about for trade buzz by those from former teammate and current NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick to CSN Bay Area's Ray Ratto and the most recent piece by his colleague Kevin Kurz Saturday, June 7.
It is important to note that Kurz said he received only "Ha!" as a response by agent John Thornton about the idea that the Toronto Maple Leafs are interested in his brother. As outlined in a suggestion by Examiner May 28 that the Sharks send the former first pick of the 1997 draft there in exchange for the eighth pick in the draft if someone like Michael Dal Colle is still available, the two teams could work out a trade.
Toronto has other pictured assets in addition to that pick to offer San Jose. Pieces like Jake Gardiner and captain Dion Phaneuf on the blue line were mentioned along with three forwards. Many were met with similar responses to that of the Thornton camp, but no one should believe much a general manager, agent or even player says this time of year—nor any media buzz that can be pure speculation or a planted message designed to give one party leverage.
Nevertheless, Thornton could be unwanted enough by the Sharks to waive his no-movement clause and go to a team that is already a playoff contender without him. The Maple Leafs are also less than a two-hour drive from his hometown. That combination has to be appealing.
Of course, Toronto was not the only team interested. Kurz reported that at least six teams have expressed interest, but it is hard to imagine another team with as much to offer both Thornton and San Jose. More to the point, there may be no one more apt to give good value as one in great need of a play-making centre (as they would spell it) between Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk.
All of this is moot if Thornton truly does not want to leave. Trading Marleau may be even harder given the second pick in the 1997 draft has literally never lived anywhere else in his adulthood. However, it should be noted that he is the only player general manager Doug Wilson inherited and the only other constant in the failure of this team to win the Stanley Cup.
The problem is the Sharks are still too close to a Stanley Cup to trade either away for low return. They need a player either ready to step into a scoring-line role or one with the potential to be a superstar.
Finding that for either Thornton or Marleau from a place the two top 1997 draft picks want to go could be tricky. It would hard to convince any objective observer that continuing with both soon-to-be 35-year old forwards will result in that elusive Stanley Cup for San Jose.