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Futures unclear for Thornton, Marleau, and Boyle

Aug 12, 2013, 12:22 PM EDT

Patrick Marleau Joe Thornton AP

As soon as the San Jose Sharks got centers Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski locked up through 2018-19, attention immediately turned to the future of veteran center Joe Thornton.

Thornton has one year left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. The former Hart Trophy winner is still a very effective player who averages almost a point per game; however, there are only so many top minutes, not to mention dollars, to go around.

At 34 years old, Thornton isn’t exactly young (for the NHL) either. And on that note, San Jose also has 19-year-old center Tomas Hertl, the 17th overall pick in the 2012 draft, in the system. (Hertl will be at training camp in September, with an eye on making the team.)

Like Thornton, veteran forward Patrick Marleau, 33, and defenseman Dan Boyle, 37, have just one year remaining on their contracts.

In July, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said he’s had talks with all three pending UFAs, but wouldn’t tip his hand as to the likelihood of any of them signing extensions.

“We don’t talk about negotiations publicly,” said Wilson. “Have we had discussions with the other three? Yes. Will we have discussions going forward? The answer is yes.”

Of the three, Boyle may be the easiest to re-sign, if only due to his age and the fact he can’t really command a long extension. Thornton and Marleau, on the other hand, could probably get three to four years — maybe even five — if they hit the open market.

Boyle has already indicated he wants to stay put.

“I’ve made it clear this is where I want to be and this is where I want to finish my career,” he said in May

According to Sharks beat writer Kevin Kurz (CSN Bay Area), it’s likely all three will go into the 2013-14 season with their futures unsettled. Writes Kurz: “Individual performance, and the performance of the team, could dictate which of those three continues to wear a black and teal sweater in the fall of 2014.”

More Sharks day on PHT:

Antti Niemi is San Jose’s rock in goal

  1. hockeyflow33 - Aug 12, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    I can’t think of another player who’s career has been nearly a point per game with less clout than Thornton. It’s too bad everyone unrealistically expected him to be a physical Neely type

    • ethanmacleod1685 - Aug 12, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      Yea I wish he was a bit more physical but dude can fight that’s for sure

      • 19wasthebest - Aug 12, 2013 at 8:52 PM

        The dude is a punk and cheap shot artist the moment the game is out of hand. He is a good player but he is a cheap player.

  2. sjsharks66 - Aug 12, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Hoping thornton and patty take home town discounts. Let boyle go to clear up some money. He is great but his age is showing.

    • ethanmacleod1685 - Aug 12, 2013 at 7:53 PM

      How do you replace Boyle then? Bad idea maaan

  3. valoisvipers - Aug 12, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Wilson will sell all 3 of them off for assets come trade dead line time.

  4. ethanmacleod1685 - Aug 12, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    @19 was the best,

    Dude, your name is 19wasthebest lol. Contradiction ?

  5. sjsharks66 - Aug 13, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    @ethan use the free space with the loss of boyles contract to sign a good young dman. Easier said then done though.

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