San Jose Sharks legend Patrick Marleau believes his former team can find itself back among the top teams in the NHL sooner than later.
Marleau could find himself back in the Bay Area next season if general manager Doug Wilson wants to bring him back to the team. Marleau caught up with Kevin Kurz of The Athletic and says he is optimistic that the Sharks can turn things around quickly due to the pieces that are already in place:
“You look at the core players and how talented they are, and how hard working they are. You look at (Logan Couture), he does everything out there, power play, penalty kill, scoring goals, blocking shots. Not unlike how (Joe Pavelski) was, as well. It’s easy to get behind a guy like that, and pull the rope with him ... But it has all the makings of a really good, contending club. I think we ran into some injury trouble there, as well. But I think as a team and playing together and getting a system down — we had a coaching change, as well. I think there was a lot of growth for our young guys last year, and some growth for the older guys, realizing what it’s going to have to take to become a playoff team again and to make ourselves contenders again. It’s not too far removed obviously (from 2019) and how far they went.”
Marleau is only 45 games away from tying Hall of Famer Gordie Howe for the NHL’s all-time games played record, which he could do in a San Jose uniform. He has 1,102 points in 1,551 games played with the Sharks, and could find himself in the Hockey Hall of Fame when he hangs them up.
San Jose was decimated by injuries this season, and if Couture and Erik Karlsson are back and healthy, it could contend for a playoff spot during the 2020-21 season. Wilson will have some tough decisions to make when it comes to Marleau and Joe Thornton. Both are arguably the two best players in franchise history, but given their age, they may not fit into the general manager’s plans for next season.
Marleau signed with the Sharks prior to the 2019-20 season after spending the previous two years with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was dealt to the Carolina Hurricanes, but what was ultimately bought out, leading to his Bay Area return.
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