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Frank Seravalli

TSN Senior Hockey Reporter

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This is where the rubber meets the road.

This weekend, the San Jose Sharks are beginning to have those uncomfortable conversations to determine the future of two franchise icons beyond Monday’s NHL trade deadline.

Multiple teams have inquired about both Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

Now GM Doug Wilson has to ask them: Would you like to go chase a Stanley Cup elsewhere this spring?

It’s a question that has never really been raised in San Jose. And there is no wrong answer from the Sharks’ perspective, no pressure to leave. But Wilson will likely to be happy to oblige if that is the request.

At this point, Marleau is probably the more likely of the two 40-year-old greybeards to be moved -  which is why he’s up to No. 11 on the TSN Trade Bait board. Marleau is more productive with 10 goals, he’s a cheaper salary cap addition playing at the league minimum $700,000, and he’s already moved on from San Jose once - to sign with Toronto in 2017. The shock to the system is gone.

At least one Eastern Conference Stanley Cup contender is ready to pull the trigger on Marleau.

Thornton might have more pause in making the same decision to go. Yes, he’s also been traded once before, but he’s been in San Jose since 2005. Those close to Thornton believed he’s waffled on both sides of the notion of a trade in the last number of weeks.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins have internally discussed the idea of adding Thornton, but some believe his preference is to stay in the West. The Avalanche might be a fit - and he has family in Colorado. Plus, it’s easy to imagine Jumbo Joe reuniting with Little Joe (Joe Pavelski) in Dallas or former coach Pete DeBoer in Vegas.

Koivu staying in Minny 

One veteran mainstay who won't be joining the Trade Bait board is longtime Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu. He informed GM Bill Guerin on Saturday that his preference is to remain in Minnesota beyond Monday's deadline.

Guerin had been clear in that Koivu would call his own shot.

Koivu, 36, earned that right as the franchise leader in points (703), assists (500) and games played (1,019) over 15 seasons with the Wild. He is the NHL’s fourth-longest tenured captain behind only Zdeno Chara, Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews.

Koivu’s offensive production has dropped this season, down to just two goals and 15 points, but teams were interested ​in Koivu's defensively conscientious game, his leadership qualities and his face-off expertise. They'll have to search elsewhere now.

Here is TSN Hockey’s latest Trade Bait board, which always seeks to blend a player’s prominence with his likelihood of a deal:

 

TRADE BAIT - FEB. 22

Trend Player Pos Age GP G PTS Cap Hit Years
  1. Chris Kreider, NYR LW 28 59 24 45 $4.63M UFA
Embedded Image 2. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, OTT C 27 59 24 40 $3.1M UFA
Embedded Image 3. Vladislav Namestnikov, OTT LW 27 56 13 25 $4M UFA
  4. Carolina's 1st Round Pick             2020
  5. Tyson Barrie, TOR RD 28 62 5 33 $2.75M UFA
  6. Sami Vatanen, NJD RD 28 47 5 23 $4.9M UFA
  7. Ilya Kovalchuk, MTL LW 36 38 9 21 $700K UFA
  8. Andreas Athanasiou, DET LW 25 46 10 24 $3M RFA
  9. Erik Gustafsson, CHI LD 27 59 6 26 $1.2M UFA
  10. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG RD 34 - - - $7.6M 1
Embedded Image 11. Patrick Marleau, SJS LW 40 56 10 20 $700K UFA
  12. Jesper Fast, NYR RW 28 59 9 25 $1.85M UFA
  13. Joe Thornton, SJS C 40 60 2 25 $2M UFA
  14. Erik Haula, CAR C 28 40 12 22 $2.75M UFA
  15. Mike Hoffman, FLA RW 30 61 23 49 $5.19M UFA
  16. Derek Grant, ANA C 29 49 14 20 $700K UFA
  17. Barclay Goodrow, SJS C 26 60 8 24 $925K 1
  18. Robin Lehner, CHI G 28 33 3.01 0.918 $5M UFA
  19. Brandon Saad, CHI LW 27 48 18 28 $6M 1
Embedded Image 20. Jimmy Vesey, BUF LW 26 56 9 19 $2.28M UFA
  21. Kyle Palmieri, NJD RW 29 56 22 41 $4.65M 1
  22. Vincent Trocheck, FLA C 26 54 10 35 $4.75M 2
  23. Jonas Brodin, MIN LD 26 60 2 24 $4.17M 1
  24. Detroit's Cap Space             2020
  25. Conor Sheary, BUF LW 27 53 9 19 $3M UFA
  26. Troy Stecher, VAN RD 25 60 3 11 $2.33M RFA
  27. Wayne Simmonds, NJD RW 31 60 7 23 $5M UFA
  28. Alex Kerfoot, TOR C 25 57 8 26 $3.5M 3
  29. Kasperi Kapanen, TOR RW 23 61 12 33 $3.2M 2
  30. Matt Dumba, MIN RD 25 60 4 21 $6M 3
  31. Tyler Ennis, OTT C 30 61 14 33 $800K UFA
  32. Josh Anderson, CBJ RW 25 26 1 4 $1.85M RFA
  33. Pavel Buchnevich, NYR RW 24 60 14 37 $3.25M 1
  34. Anthony DeAngelo, NYR RD 24 58 13 45 $925K RFA
  35. Jeff Petry, MTL RD 32 63 9 37 $5.5M 1
  36. Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI LD 26 41 5 12 $4.5M 3
  37. Rocco Grimaldi, NSH RW 27 57 10 30 $1M UFA
  38. Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF RD 25 60 5 29 $5.4M 2
  39. Ron Hainsey, OTT LD 38 54 1 11 $3.5M UFA
  40. Mike Green, DET RD 34 48 3 11 $5.38M UFA
  41. Nate Thompson, MTL C 35 62 4 14 $1M UFA
  42. Ben Hutton, LAK LD 26 57 4 11 $1.5M UFA
  43. Chris Tierney, OTT C 25 61 10 30 $2.94M RFA
  44. Ryan Donato, MIN LW 23 53 11 18 $1.9M 1
  45. Craig Smith, NSH RW 30 60 17 28 $4.5M UFA
  46. Mikael Granlund, NSH LW 27 54 14 25 $5.75M UFA
  47. Michael Del Zotto, ANA LD 29 39 2 11 $750K UFA
  48. Brady Skjei, NYR LD 25 59 8 23 $5.25M 4
  49. Josh Manson, ANA RD 28 42 1 6 $4.1M 2
  50. Lias Andersson, NYR C 21 17 0 1 $894K 1

TRADED:

4. Alec Martinez (Lak to VGK)

4. Brenden Dillon (Sjs to Wsh)

6. Tyler Toffoli (LA to Van)

10. Dylan DeMelo (Ott to Wpg)

11. Jason Zucker (Min to Pit)

29. Kyle Clifford (LA to Tor)

36. Alex Galchenyuk (Pit to Min)

37. Ondrej Kase (Ana to Bos)

37. Marco Scandella (Mtl to StL)