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Frank Seravalli

TSN Senior Hockey Reporter

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Teams are beginning to circle around the San Jose Sharks.

According to HockeyViz, there is a 99 per cent chance the Bay Area is home to no man’s land this spring – a 99 per cent shot that the Sharks will both miss the Stanley Cup playoffs and miss out on the Draft Lottery, since the Ottawa Senators hold their unprotected pick from the Erik Karlsson trade.

That raises all sorts of questions about the Sharks’ roster.

The biggest one: Will Joe Thornton raise his hand and ask to chase a Stanley Cup elsewhere?

The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer is one of 13 intriguing new names added to the TSN Trade Bait board on Monday, including teammates Patrick Marleau and Barclay Goodrow.

Make no mistake: This will be Thornton’s call – and not only because Thornton holds the full no-move clause hammer. After 1,089 games in a Sharks uniform, it’s unlikely that GM Doug Wilson would go to Thornton asking him to consider a certain trade scenario.

All Thornton would have to do is let it be known that he is not interested in moving. End of story. So far, that has not happened, leading some close to him to believe that he’s feeling conflicted with two weeks to go until TradeCentre.

Contenders are doing their homework behind the scenes. The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning are two teams that have reportedly internally discussed the idea of adding Jumbo Joe to their lineup.

Could you imagine the scene of Thornton returning to where it all began in Boston? Fans were clamouring for a San Jose/Boston Stanley Cup matchup last summer when the Sharks made it to the Western Conference final.

Thornton added four goals and 10 points in 19 games on the Sharks’ playoff run last year, his 13th in San Jose that fell short of the ultimate goal.

There has been no indication so far that Thornton intends for this to be his final NHL season. He collected his 1,500th career point last week – moving him into 14th on the all-time list – but this has been the least productive season of his career, with just two goals and 24 points.

If he decides with his family to chase the dream elsewhere this spring, that certainly would not preclude Thornton from returning to the Sharks over the summer as a free agent. This is just the second time in Thornton’s 14-year tenure in San Jose that the Sharks likely won’t make the playoffs – and really the first time they’re far from contention.

One of the game’s all-time great characters being on the move would certainly add spice to a trade deadline that could use some.

With two weeks to go, here are 40 names in play on the latest Trade Bait board – which always seeks to blend a player’s prominence with his likelihood of a trade:

 

Trade Bait - Feb. 10

 
Trend Player Pos Age GP G PTS Cap Hit Years
  1. Chris Kreider, NYR LW 28 53 20 38 $4.63M UFA
  2. Alec Martinez, LAK LD 32 39 1 8 $4M 1
Embedded Image 3. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, OTT C 27 53 21 34 $3.1M UFA
  4. Sami Vatanen, NJD RD 28 47 5 23 $4.9M UFA
  5. Brenden Dillon, SJS LD 29 55 1 14 $3.27M UFA
Embedded Image 6. Ilya Kovalchuk, MTL RW 36 32 9 21 $700K UFA
  7. Tyler Toffoli, LAK RW 27 56 14 30 $4.6M UFA
Embedded Image 8. Anthony DeAngelo, NYR RD 24 54 13 42 $925K RFA
  9. Andreas Athanasiou, DET LW 25 40 7 21 $3M RFA
  10. Carolina's 1st Round Pick             2020
  11. Jason Zucker, MIN LW 28 45 14 29 $5.5M 3
  12. Pavel Buchnevich, NYR RW 24 54 11 31 $3.25M 1
  13. Derek Grant, ANA C 29 44 13 18 $700K UFA
  14. Dylan DeMelo, OTT RD 26 45 0 10 $900K UFA
Embedded Image 15. Joe Thornton, SJS C 40 55 2 22 $2M UFA
  16. Mike Hoffman, FLA RW 30 54 21 45 $5.19M UFA
Embedded Image 17. Chris Tierney, OTT C 25 55 10 28 $2.94M RFA
  18. Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI LD 26 41 5 12 $4.5M 3
  19. Andreas Johnsson, TOR LW 25 41 8 21 $3.4M 3
  20. Kasperi Kapanen, TOR RW 23 55 10 31 $3.2M 2
  21. Barclay Goodrow, SJS C 26 55 8 22 $925K 1
  22. Ondrej Kase, ANA RW 24 49 7 23 $2.6M 1
  23. Matt Dumba, MIN RD 25 55 4 18 $6M 3
  24. Patrick Marleau, SJS LW 40 51 10 20 $700K UFA
Embedded Image 25. Robert Bortuzzo, STL RD 30 32 1 4 $1.38M 2
  26. Ryan Donato, MIN LW 23 45 10 17 $1.9M 1
  27. Ron Hainsey, OTT LD 38 48 1 11 $3.5M UFA
  28. Zach Bogosian, BUF RD 29 19 1 5 $5.14M UFA
  29. Craig Smith, NSH RW 30 47 11 21 $4.5M UFA
  30. Valtteri Filppula, DET C 35 56 4 18 $3M 1
  31. Marco Scandella, MTL LD 29 47 4 11 $4M UFA
Embedded Image 32. Mikael Granlund, NSH LW 27 54 12 23 $5.75M UFA
  33. Sam Bennett, CGY LW 23 40 5 9 $2.55M 1
  34. Wayne Simmonds, NJD RW 31 54 5 20 $5M UFA
  35. Kyle Turris, NSH C 30 47 7 24 $6M 4
  36. Alex Galchenyuk, PIT LW 25 45 5 17 $4.9M UFA
  37. Josh Manson, ANA RD 28 37 1 6 $4.1M 2
  38. Josh Anderson, CBJ RW 25 26 1 4 $1.85M RFA
Embedded Image 39. Jeff Petry, MTL RD 32 57 8 35 $5.5M 1
  40. Jesse Puljujarvi, EDM* RW 21 44 18 44 - RFA
 

Traded:

No. 29 - Kyle Clifford (Toronto)

 

Contact Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @frank_seravalli