Thornton, Marleau skate together at Sharks’ practice facility
- Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau might not be on NHL rosters at the moment, but both are staying active.
- It was just like old times at the San Jose Sharks’ practice facility on Monday.
- Former NHL defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Sharks, bumped into franchise icons Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, who were skating together at the practice rink.
- Marleau and Thornton currently are unrestricted free agents, and both have said they intend to play in 2019-20.
- Marleau was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in a salary dump earlier this offseason
- Then it was just a matter of time before they bought him out after he informed the team he wanted to play closer to his family after they moved back to San Jose.
- He told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun that a reunion with the Sharks “would be a good fit for me for sure.”
- Thornton, meanwhile, told reporters at June’s NHL Awards he wanted to return for (at least) one more season.
- Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said earlier this offseason he would give Thornton “all the time he needs to make whatever decision’s right for him,” and his photo with Ehrhoff adds credence to the idea it’s a matter of when — not if — he re-signs with San Jose.
- The Sharks have just under $4.7 million in salary-cap space with 11 forwards under contract.
- Both players made more than that last season
- It’s conceivable San Jose has enough room to re-sign Thornton and bring back Marleau if they both accept to make way less money than what they’re used to.
- For now, with just over a month before the Sharks’ preseason opener on Sept. 17, the waiting game continues.
- But Ehrhoff’s Instagram post is just another indication the two longest-tenured players in San Jose history intend to play next season.
Marleau & Thornton: A shared destiny
Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Roberto Luongo pre draft interview on HNIC
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