NHL Rumor Mill – April 26, 2017

by | Apr 26, 2017 | Rumors | 40 comments

The San Jose Sharks could be forced to choose between Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

Latest on the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild in your NHL rumor mill.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance suggested the San Jose Sharks should re-sign center Joe Thornton to a short-term contract, let winger Patrick Marleau depart via free agency unless he’s willing to accept a steep discount and explore ways to get out of disappointing winger Mikkel Boedker’s contract. Thornton and Marleau are both 37 and eligible for unrestricted free agent status in July. Boedker’s earning $4 million annually through 2019-20.

THE MERCURY NEWS:  Paul Gackle reports Thornton and Marleau both expressed their desire to re-sign with the Sharks. Contract talks between the two and general manager Doug Wilson have yet to begin. Wilson also has to deal with re-signing defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and goaltender Martin Jones to contract extensions. Both are signed through next season and slated for UFA status next July.

Mark Purdy wonders if Wilson will be forced to choose between Thornton and Marleau. He also points out Thornton’s willingness to play on an injured knee in their series against the Edmonton Oilers could make Wilson feel obligated to re-sign the veteran center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $54 million invested in 15 players for 2017-18 and Thornton and Marleau their only notable free agents this summer, the Sharks can afford to re-sign the duo this summer. Given their age and the decline last season in their production, Thornton and Marleau won’t get any expensive long-term deals from the Sharks or anyone else. Of the two, I can see Thornton getting a two-year offer from the Sharks for around $5 million annually. Marleau could get a one-year, bonus-laden deal that takes him up to $4.5 million.

As for Boedker, it’s unlikely the Sharks will find any takers for his contract unless they’re willing to pick up part of it or toss in a good young player in a package deal. A buyout would cost them $1.2 million next season against their cap, followed by over $2 million annually for the next two seasons, followed by over $1.08 million over the remaining three years. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher admitted there will be changes to his roster in the wake of another disappointing early playoff exit, but he won’t be overhauling the roster. He pointed to the club’s finishing with their best record (106 points) in franchise history.

Fletcher must re-sign restricted free agent forwards Markus Granlund and Nino Niederreiter, find a suitable backup for starting goalie Devan Dubnyk and figure out which players to protect in the June expansion draft. Head coach Bruce Boudreau would like to add a physical defenseman. 

Chad Graff reports it’s unlikely the Wild will re-sign center Martin Hanzal, who’s eligible for UFA status in July. The Wild acquired Hanzal before the trade deadline, but Graff cited the Wild’s limited salary-cap space and Hanzal’s inconsistent production.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have over $61 million invested in 15 players. Even by losing a salaried player to the expansion draft, much of their remaining cap space will be taken up re-signing Granlund, Niederreiter and Erik Haula (who have arbitration rights this summer) to new contracts.

Hanzal’s performance with the Wild did little to bolster their value in the UFA market. Their biggest decision could be determining which defenseman – Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba or Marco Scandella – to protect in the expansion draft. One of them is gone for sure. 


  1. I honestly don’t understand why teams feel the need to keep signing players to contracts once they reach ages like this. The Sharks have a lot of young talent that they should be looking to take on the future responsibilities of this team. I think they should let them both move on personally. But that’s just me. I am sure this comment will elicit interesting responses, but remember this is just my opinion.

    • I share that opinion – and have said repeatedly that Wilson should just walk away. Both have been with the Sharks for a long time and will forever be associated with their inability to win when it counts – they won’t maker the team any better at age 37 and their bodies begin breaking down.

    • I’m not really agreeing or disagreeing. I think if you can keep a guy around like Thornton, at a reduced role, salary and keep him year to year until the tank runs out, I say why not?

      • At some point teams that are more noted for their failures need to shed those associated with those failures if for no other reason than building a new image.

      • That’s why I say reduced role. I know Thornton and Marleau have taken the brunt of the failures of the Sharks. But I think it’s a little misplaced and unwarranted. There is a ton of blame to go around. I don’t believe in making sentimental contract offers, and as a Ranger fan have seen plenty of them. But if a guy can still contribute at a decent level, understands he has to take a lesser role…. I’m all for it. He is only a year removed from a very good season. I won’t write him completely off like people were last year with E.Staal.

      • Just curious George… not being no smart ass… this time… but would you have brought back Daniel Alfredson for a final year for cheap? If he still had enough left to be a contributor? He was as much a figurehead for ott failures as Thornton and marleau are for San Jose…

      • Agree Nyr4life, to get rid of a player just for the sake of getting rid of a player or because he hasn’t won a cup, makes no sense to me. Thornton finished with 7g 43a 50pts. Unless you have a player that’s going to give you what Jumbo Joe does and at a cheaper rate then by all means. As it stands by removing Thorton and Marleau (27g) from their roster SJ is a weaker team then they are with them. No issue keeping both for one or two more season but at an obvious discount. If San Jose was going into a rebuild mold I would lean towards moving on, but I believe this team thinks their cup contenders with the right additions.

      • Fair questions and points Chrisms and NYRForLife. Re Alfredsson – no I would not have done that. But then, I’m not one to buy into sentimentality if I’m a GM. Just like they should never have wasted a roster spot on Neil this year so he could get to 1000 games, or Stewart when it became evident he could no longer contribute.

        This is professional sport and the bottom line for a GM is to win the big prize – in any sport. You don’t see the New England Patriots wasting roster spots on sentimentality. These are professional athletes earning more dollars than the average Joe or Jane can only dream about and very few need “tag days.”

        San Jose doesn’t “owe” anything to Thornton or Marleau – especially after they chose comfort over movement when the Sharks might have received more for them in trades 2 or 3 years back when they wanted to see what teams might offer (much like Sundin did to the Leafs).

        There are 30 teams in the league (now 31) and I, for one, have never subscribed to the NM/NT clauses handed out. For the money they’re making they – and their family if needs be – go where their traded.

        I much prefer the NFL way of doing business – you don’t shape up you ship out – it’s up to team management.

        But that’s just my opinion.

      • “go where they’re traded ….”

      • I think it also helps the organization as far as being an attractive spot to play when it comes to free agents and waiving no trade clauses for to treat players especially long time players with some loyalty and respect. (Captain C aside). People wonder why players choose markets like SJ and Anaheim? its more than climate and taxes. There is something to be said for consistency and routine. Guys don’t want to worry about up rooting every few years and given the choice of continually making the playoffs (even if not winning cups) and the opportunity to feel like they are apart of a team that is willing to stick with its core for the most part and not feel the pressure to blow up and send guys packing at every sign of adversity

      • George O. I agree with most of what you’re saying. Your spot on with the Patriots, Belichick didn’t deny his players a raise or say they didn’t deserve it, he just said we can’t afford it, so good luck with your new team. The point I disagree with is them not moving their ntc. It was negotiated into their contracts and if the team doesn’t want to honour it, then don’t offer it. They were fully within their rights to decline and shouldn’t be held against them. If SJ is bitter about that, then they should move on from both players.

      • Agree Nyr4life, if you can sign him for a year two why not? Who’s better ufa out there? The guy has such passion for hockey, stays in good shape can still skate and great guy in the locker room is tremendous help aswell.

      • Well Shticky, what you say bout “ideal” environments buys right into what I’m saying about NM/NT clauses. Areas like San Jose, LA, Anaheim, TB, Florida – hell, even Phoenix – are an attraction in and of themselves and, as such, give any GM willing to dole out such clauses an unfair advantage over cities not so attractive in that respect with their bitter winters – Winnipeg, Edmonton come to mind, or perceived as the armpit of the NHL (Newark). Without that cushy safety net written into contracts you might actually see more trades/player movement.Again, just my opinion.

      • But those really are CBA issues, not directly issues involving Thornton. Even in a supposed aged state he was still well over 50% on draws one of the best faceoffs guys in the league against everyone’s top C, well over 50% in terms of possession top 20 (15th) in takeaways….what do you replace him with? How does that look to other guys in the league that know what that guy brings that you just cut him loose as a UFA just for the sake of moving on? It’s not making the team any better, it’s not really helping them get closer to the cup if anything it’s the opposite,

      • No 1 is forcing GM’s to give NTC’s or NMC’s. If you give them you need to be prepaired to honor them. I would be very selective & reluctant myself & if I have to it’s almost as I had no choice. That’s what it took to get the player I wanted signed.

        I see Thornton coming back for at least 1 year. Following the expansion draft. Time to let Marleau move on. Numerous other teams will be willing to pay Marleau far more than SJ. He still gets 1st line PP time but has essentially played as a 3rd liner 5 on 5 except when injuries hit. Thornton & Pavelski are still very effective together.

        As for Boedker good luck trying to dump that contract until possibly next summer when his salary drops to 3 mil for the final 2 years in real dollars. He was barely a 50 point player getting 1st line ice time & PP time in Arizona. Not sure what SJ exmpected in a far lesser role. What you see is what you should have expected.

      • well george the caveat was that they could still play and help. I think it all depends on cost. Would Alfy have been better that year than whomever was on the third line? on the PP? wouldn’t Joe and Pat be better than SJ options on the 2-3rd line? I think so BUT its about cost and players willingness to accept those reduced roles. Players that do often can reap the rewards. No better example than Trottier with pens. signed on as a guaranteed hall of famer to play thrid string behind Mario and Francis… got himself some more rings. Cost and role.

      • Oh… and Patriots don’t have to waste spots on sentimentality… they can just cheat their way to the top… I mean… “some guys like em round, some guys like em thin, some like em tacky, some guys like em brand new, some guys like old balls.”

      • I think Bill Belichick will live forever, I’m certain he can even cheat death!

      • @chrism, if you would like to debate the patriots by all means direct me to a football site so i can debate, your silly little comment.

      • I think you already did caper?.

        It seems like I shoulda heard that one before ny. But I hadn’t. Made me smile though it mighta made caper a bit pouty.

  2. The Wild may have finished with their highest point total in franchise history, as Fletcher points out – but he should also bear in mind that Florida finished last season with 103 – their highest in franchise history – and dropped to 81, while Colorado had their second-best point total (112) in team history in 2013-14 (after 118 in 2000-01) and have dropped like the proverbial rock since.

    There was a reason – other than Jake Allen – that they exited so swiftly this year.

    • I disagree completely; it’s not like the Wild don’t have 3 lines that can score and tons of high end prospects coming. They need some tweaking. A large top 4 d-man and a backup goalie who can play. If they can find or develop a true goal scorer that would help but Tarasenko only had 3 points in the series so that one isn’t fatal.

  3. My initial comment brought on more positives than I expected. I like your question Chrisms to George O about Alfredson. So I will answer it with respect to Sundin in Toronto. When it was time for him to leave as a fan I was quite excited and was more looking forward to what they might get for him. For the record I have no issue with player salaries as clearly their talents are generating revenue and owners seem more than willing to pay it. The players are simply extracting their fair portion of the pie. But having said that I also think that the “sentimental” contracts that George O points too are unnecessary. If millions of dollars over x number of years is not enough compensation than too bad. Why throw more money at sentiment? I just don’t get it!

    • The argument shouldn’t be they’re old and been there to long. With both players being UFA’s there is no trade options at this point. The question for me; is the team better with that on it? if yes for how long? and how much do I want to pay for their services? and no to any ntc clauses or limited of teams they can be traded to. Ok just one Winnipeg because no one wants to come here.

  4. Joe Thornton had 50 points this year, 43 assists, in 79 games and Patrick Marleau played all 82 games, and had 27 goals. In the playoffs, Thornton played on an injured knee that will require surgery. The Sharks went to the Stanley Cup Final last year, winning three series before losing to Pittsburgh.
    By way of comparison, Marleau would have tied Kyle Turris for most goals on the Senators while Thornton’s point totals would have been fifth for Ottawa and second to Karlsson for assists.
    Surely San Jose could find another pair of forwards to drop if they have prospects that are ready for the NHL. What’s the problem with one year, bonus laden contracts for both of them? Clearly they are still valuable NHL players.

    • No real problem BCLeafFan. I just don’t get the feeling of obligation that seems to drive these deals. I honestly think that both players are still quite effective. I just don’t think San Jose should feel so tied to these assets any longer. It’s a contract when it expires truly explore your options as some other players might now be a better fit. And vice versa for that matter from the players’ perspectives.

      • Steven how do you see obligation? If Thornton had 20pts and Marleau had 12g, I don’t think you would find any obligations from SJ to resign any one of the two. I agree regardless if Thornton played injured or not shouldn’t be a determining factor to resign him. The only reason its a discussion because 27g is really good and 43a from still one of the best setup men in the NHL isn’t shabby. I understand your point because I’ve been advocating for Boston to trade Chara for two years now and not because I don’t like Chara but because I didn’t see Boston as a playoff run contender and would prefer the assets in return.

  5. I get all of that Caper, but again why continue to go to the same well again and again even if the source you are drawing from is relatively effective? Seems like tunnel vision to me. Just my opinion Caper. In life the time comes in most relationships to continue or move on. It might be that time in SJ for these two.

    • Thornton and Marleau are both well respected people, not just hockey players. They both happen to still be producing at a decent rate. I would guess that both would like to stay in SJ, but I don’t know that, but you should not have to overpay as it works for both parties. If they want big $$ let them go get it. SJ still sees themselves as a contender right now and both these players can help you right now. SJ has 2 or 3 guys that look to be ready to play in the NHL, but in top 6 roles? will that make SJ better or worse? I would suggest worse for next year not better. Ease them in to lesser roles until they are ready to play significant ones. What UFA’s do you replace them with that will bring better value?
      Seems like a win win to me.
      And I agree with Schticky, how you treat people matters and it does have an effect on how players from other organizations view yours and how the players in your own room view the organization. The NHL is not the NFL and the CBA’s are vastly different as are the sports and player career lengths.

      • And I’m not sure Thornton gets the credit he deserves as a defensive centre

  6. Again everybody I am just saying that perhaps it’s time for both sides to reflect on what they want going forward. I certainly see the reasons to keep both but think that sometimes teams are a little too reluctant to look elsewhere. And to be honest I like seeing players move around a little. Isn’t the Subban to Nashville trade looking fun to analyze a little further at this point?

    • Steven you guys are also forgetting the fan aspect of whether to keep a player longer. Especially if you’re in a smaller market. Some of the veterans have a loyal following, they buy tickets, call in to the talk shows, buy newspapers etc. You want to keep players around so kids have someone to relate to. Grow the game sort of thing

    • No worries Steven, and I get what your saying, sooner or later SJ has to move on, and in reality may have to take the rebuild plunge in a year or 2 or 3. It is just impossible to do that when you keep making the playoffs.
      I am a Bruins fan, they are rebuilding on the fly which we have debated the wisdom of on this site numerous times. Tough decisions. Personally I am not a rebuild on the fly fan, but get why they have to do it and try to hang on past the best before date.

      • Not all teams find themselves in a position to just tear it down & start over. Boston & SJ’s cores at point of transition require or required transitions on the fly as they still had to many good players in the primes of their careers.

        Boston made a GM change, they needed to shed salary & restock the prospect kitty but had Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, Lucic, Eriksson, Kelly, Smith, Soderberg, Chara, Hamilton, Krug, McQuad, K. Miller, etc. hard choices had to be made but many of these assets were in their prime or entering such & there were some roster spots that needed to be opened for what few prospects Boston had at the time.

        Essentially Pastrnak, Spooner & Vatrano. Boston took a step back & out went Lucic, Smith, Soderberg & Hamilton. The next season gone were Eriksson, Connolly, Kelly & Seidenberg.

        You weren’t moving Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, Chara, Krug & Rask so a complete tear down wasn’t even a consideration. Sweeney has unravelled it staying competitive providing a ton of cap flexibility & restocking the prospect Kitty.

        Boston is a better team today, significantly then when Sweeney took over less than 2 years ago & will be even better next year.

        SJ is in a very similiar situation to where Boston was in the summer of 2015 but with Pavelski, Couture, Hertl, Donskoi, Ward, Hansen, Karlsson, Tierny, Burns, Vlasic, Martin Braun, Jones it needs be be unwound as these kids come in. Donskoi, Hertl, Tierney, soon Meier, Muller, Sorenson, etc.

        SJ started adding youth, play add more next season but this is a very good team. Their isn’t a replacement for Thornton in the system nor available as a UFA. Trying to trade for 1 is expensive & costs what SJ needs to continue to develop & add.

        This is 1 of the best most consistent teams in the NHL. No league championship is harder to win than the Stanley cup. 4 best of 7 series need to be won to go the distance. Baseball & football are 1 game winner advances.

        If your only gauge for sucess is cup wins your going to be very disappointed. For me their are numerous other ways to gauge success. Yes the goal is to win the cup but you need to get there 1st, something SJ has done consistently.

        Sign Thornton. Let Marleau go not enough money for everyone unfortunately. Marleau’s contribution can’t fully be replaced but Meier, Leblanc & Sorenson are all ready for full time roles in the NHL & at least 1 roster spot needs to be opened up. Another should be via the expansion draft.

      • Bruins are a different case IMO, they traded some key players and got draft picks as a result, for example their three first rounders in 2015. They have done a good job of staying competitive and rebuilding at the same time.
        They showcased two really good young defenseman and a dynamite young forward this year. You can’t say that about the Sharks

      • Apples & oranges. Not direct comparisons but similarities. Bos & SJ that is. No 2 siutations are or can be identical. The reason there are different ways to rebuild, transition retool what have you. Again you play the hand you dealt yourself or pick up the pieces & implement a new plan if replacing someone let go.

        Who knows what Sorenson, Leblanc & Meier maybe & for that matter the best is yet to come from Donskoi, Hertl & Tierny.

        My point was that neither Bos nor SJ are or were in a position to just tear it down like Arz, Buf, Tor, etc. To many players still under contract in tge primes of their career or others locked up.

        SJ’s window hasn’t closed yet. This is a very good team & they are & have been introducing 1 or 2 young players a season for the last 2 years & it will continue next season.

        Time to let Marleau go. For 2 primary reasons. SJ needs the roster spot for Meier & no real room to take on his cap hit even short term. Thornton stays for at least 1 more year maybe 2 but i would do them on 1 year bonus laiden deals to save cap space.

        Bonus monies for players over 35 on 1 year deals can be carried over if earned & it puts a team over the cap. Allows for cap flexibility come the trade deadline.

  7. Sorry not baseball wildcards are 1 1st round 5.

    Can’t access todays rumors from computer trying from phone. Serious hassle & having some weird lag times & getting gobbly gook.

  8. Thanks Striker for the update

    • Ha-ha! Your welcome Scott.

  9. Looks like Iggy will sign in Boston hope it’s for one or two years max.