Darryl's next target: Patrick Marleau

Darryl Sutter has proven he's not shy about pulling the trigger on blockbuster trades. He's also a guy that "likes what he likes" when it comes to NHL players: Western Canadian guys, WHL players, former Sutter players and former first round draft picks (with a few Swedes thrown in for flavor).

It's also a poorly kept secret that Sutter likes (former) Sharks Captain Patrick Marleau, who embodies all the Sutter fetishes. A lot. And with the news that Marleau's been stripped of his Captaincy in San Jose, one wonders if he's on his last legs with the organization.

Of course, the primary reason Wilson may be looking to deal Marleau is his contract: at 6.3M/year, he is the second highest paid forward on the club behind Joe Thornton. The Sharks were said to be heavily shopping Marleau after his terrible season under the other Wilson, but with his pricetage and nominal counting stats at the time there was no takers. Now that a year of skating on Thornton's wing has punched up his output, there's probably more of a market for Marleau's services. 

What's more, the Sharks have a greater need to deal him now more than ever. They are currently one of the most cap restricted teams in the league, featuring 10 NHL forwards, 2 RFA's that still needing a new contract and less than zero cap space to work with. Moving Marleau for a couple of cheaper pieces makes a lot of those problems go away.

With their collection of cheaper wingers and defenders, the Flames could probably cobble together a package for Marleau, although a player with some dollars associated with him would have to go the other way if the trade were to be made this summer, since the Flames aren't exactly flush with cap space themselves. That said, would acquiring Marleau be worth it? He can play both center and wing, has some nice tools including blazing speed and a good shot and his contract, though pricey, only extends till the end of this season. His advanced stats from last season are solid (although it helps to skate with Joe Thornton at ES) and I would say he's a superior player to our current "#2 center" Olli Jokinen. He's scored 30+ goals and 70+ points in 3 of his last 4 seasons and is 30 years old in September.

I have no idea if Sutter is actually considering Marleau as a trade target, but from what I know about Darryl and the signs I'm getting out of San Jose, it wouldn't surprise me if he's made a call or two.

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