For the first time in their respective careers, San Jose Sharks forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are set to be unrestricted free agents on July 1. As some of the most respected veteran players in the league, Thornton and Marleau have received a lot of interest from other teams. We have a list of all of the teams that Marleau, Thornton, or both have been linked to below, and will continue to update this as news breaks.
The Ducks have reached out to Patrick Marleau, according to the Athletic’s Craig Custance on Wednesday. Anaheim expressed interest in at least one of the pair, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Friday.
The Coyotes “are prepared to take an aggressive run at Thornton,” an NHL source told the Athletic’s Craig Custance. Thornton has a good relationship with Mike Van Ryn, Arizona’s player development coach, but that likely will not be enough to bring Thornton to the Desert Dogs, according to Custance.
The Flames are interested in signing Marleau, according to the Fourth Period.
LA pressing hard on Joe. Don't see likewise interest in Marleau - Calgary strong on him. Joe gives more flexibility, immediately upgrades PP https://t.co/Z9TrKZodpw— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) June 28, 2017
As Friend of the Blog Kevin Kurz noted, Calgary is very close to Marleau’s hometown of Aneroid, Saskatchewan.
The Hurricanes are also interested in Marleau, according to the Athletic’s Craig Custance:
Carolina is another interesting option because that’s a good, young team that needs some scoring. They’re in too.
Carolina has the third-most salary cap space ($23,396,667) to work with, with ten forwards, seven defensemen, and two goaltenders already under contract.
Chicago is one of Thornton’s “potential suitors,” according to the Fourth Period’s free agency tracker. David Pagnotta of the same website speculated that Thornton could be an option for Chicago on Twitter:
Thornton likes the west coast, no doubt, but will consider options elsewhere, if the right opportunity arose. NYR? CHI? MTL? EDM? BOS?— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) June 27, 2017
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets are among the teams that have spoken to “one (or both)” of Thornton and Marleau, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Friedman first listed Columbus as a team interested in Thornton earlier this week:
I’m really fascinated by the Blue Jackets, who are going all-in over the next two years and will try something big.
The Stars are among the teams interested in Marleau, according to the Fourth Period.
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings have made signing Thornton “a priority,” according to Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider. They’ve “certainly made a big pitch” to him, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Los Angeles is also interested in Marleau, according to the Athletic’s Craig Custance.
The Canadiens are among the teams that have reached out to “one (or both)” of Thornton and Marleau, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported. Montreal was among the teams Thornton would consider in free agency, the Fourth Period’s Dennis Bernstein reported earlier this week. There was some social media chatter that Thornton was visiting Montreal, but that is not the case, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Engels:
While it's entirely possible the Canadiens are interested/have had contact with Joe Thornton, he is not visiting any team.— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) June 29, 2017
The Predators expressed interest in Marleau, according to the Athletic’s Craig Custance, and have called Thornton, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun. Thornton’s family loves the city, too, something Friend of the Blog Kevin Kurz noted on Twitter:
And Thornton’s parents LOVE Nashville. They often show up on the road there. https://t.co/1fHjCAnqWV— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNBCS) June 29, 2017
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers are among the teams have reached out to “one (or both)” of Thornton and Marleau, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. They reached out to Marleau, according to the Athletic’s Craig Custance. TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that Thornton and Marleau are among the players New York is interested in, but the Rangers will not give either player a three-year contract. Before free agency began, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks wrote last weekend that Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton was expected to “check in” on Thornton.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues have reached out to “one (or both)” of Thornton and Marleau, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported. Friend of the Blog Kevin Kurz wrote that the Blues are among the teams that may be “more appealing” if Thornton leaves the Sharks.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs have been in touch with Marleau and are a “wild card” for Thornton, according to the Athletic’s Craig Custance:
There is a lot of interest in him, including the young Toronto Maple Leafs. Leafs coach Mike Babcock knows Marleau well from his time coaching him in international play and Toronto has been in touch with the Marleau camp to express interest.
The Maple Leafs are a wild card here because there’s a mutual respect between Thornton and coach Mike Babcock that goes back years but if Thornton isn’t convinced Babcock's team can win something big in the next year or so, it could rule Toronto out.
Toronto is among the teams that have reached out to “one (or both)” of Thornton and Marleau, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Friedman mentioned Thornton and Marleau’s history with Babcock earlier this week:
Toronto is quieter about its intentions, but don’t forget that Mike Babcock has plenty of Team Canada history with both Marleau and Thornton.