Speculation has begun to swirl around San Jose Sharks star Patrick Marleau, after reports came out earlier in the week that he would waive his no trade clause for the LA Kings, the Anaheim Ducks, or our beloved Rangers. Elliotte Friedman noted on TV that there is little evidence to suggest that the Sharks have asked Marleau to waive his NTC, and Bob McKenzie echoed the sentiment on Twitter, saying that it is “more likely that Marleau asked SJ to explore trade possibilities to select teams”. All of this suggests that Marleau is potentially interested in a trade to New York, which might raise some fans’ eyebrows given a few factors.
The first is what it would cost to acquire to speedy winger, who’s registered 30 goals or more in seven different seasons with San Jose. The Rangers don’t exactly have a wealth of draft picks to give up due to past trades, and given that Anthony Duclair was sent to Arizona in the Keith Yandle deal it’s not likely that the Rangers would deal their next best prospect Pavel Bucchnevich. That would mean any player or players going the other way would be roster players, and while I by no means have any inkling of who it would be I would imagine that the price for a player like Marleau would not be cheap.
It’s also worth noting along these lines that the Rangers have probably their best forward depth in years, so fitting him into the roster would be tricky. Marleau plays left wing, where the Rangers already have Rick Nash and Chris Kreider on the top two lines, and where Oscar Lindberg has made a name for himself on the third line. Unless Kreider was sent to San Jose in the deal (which I would hope he wouldn’t be, but that’s just a personal opinion) it seems that there isn’t really a place for Patrick Marleau on this team.
Trading for Marleau would also mean fitting him in under the salary cap, which the Rangers are right up against. After Rick Nash at $7.8 million, the Rangers next top earners are Derek Stepan, Marc Staal, and Dan Girardi at $6.5m, $5.7m, and $5.5m respectively. Clearing just one of those latter contracts alone wouldn’t be enough to make a trade cap neutral, as Marleau’s cap hit is $6.6 million. It’s also worth noting that the Rangers have a bevy of free agency signings coming up, including Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, and Keith Yandle among others.
Some fans also might question the wisdom of trading away assets for another aging superstar, given how recently Martin St. Louis was on the team. While the trade paid off initially, the rapid decline of the former Tampa Bay winger and the price paid to acquire him in retrospect might make some hesitate at a Marleau trade. Although they’re different scenarios and different players, the memory of Marty St Louis combined with other factors like salary cap issues and an already crowded lineup would make any potential trade scenario involving Patrick Marleau interesting to say the least.