LAS VEGAS -- San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau is prepared for general manager Doug Wilson to attempt to make changes to the club's roster, leadership hierarchy and dressing-room culture this offseason.
He isn't prepared to be a victim of those changes.
"I want to play in San Jose," Marleau said Monday at Media Day for the NHL Awards, where he is up for the Lady Byng Trophy. "I want to win there."
Marleau said he and San Jose captain Joe Thornton, the Sharks' longest tenured players, have already discussed next season and getting back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs to make amends for the team's collapse against the Los Angeles Kings. San Jose blew a 3-0 lead and lost to the Kings in seven games in the Western Conference First Round.
"We're looking forward to next year," Marleau said of him and Thornton. "It's going to [stink] having to go through all the 82 games to get back in the playoffs to get to that point to actually do something about it."
However, Marleau also has heard Wilson's comments in recent days about how it's time for the Sharks to put more responsibility on the younger players and to go into a rebuilding mode behind Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Wilson told the Toronto Sun earlier this month that he has informed San Jose's veteran players that they may not want to stick around if the Sharks are going to go full bore into a rebuild.
Left Wing - SJS
GOALS: 33 | ASST: 37 | PTS: 70
SOG: 285 | +/-: 0
Wilson has already cast off defenseman Dan Boyle by trading his rights to the New York Islanders. He said forward Martin Havlat is not expected to return despite having two years left on his contract. He could be bought out. Defenseman Scott Hannan is not going to return either.
Marleau and Thornton, though, are in control of their futures in San Jose with full no-trade clauses and three-year contracts that kick in this season. But Wilson's talk of a rebuild can be taken as a clear sign that he's telling them they should waive those no-trade clauses if asked.
Marleau said the topic has not been discussed yet with management and he hasn't thought about it. He doesn't seem to have any interest in doing so either.
"You have to get refocused and come back more motivated through offseason training and for next year," Marleau said. "I think we're going to learn a lot about a lot of players coming back this next year after losing the way we did."
Marleau said he agrees with Wilson that the Sharks can't return in their current form and think it's good enough to win the Stanley Cup. They learned that the hard way in the playoffs.
"Something has to change, I think," Marleau said. "That's what they're doing right now, looking at every little thing to try to find the right thing. It's going to be hard to figure out what exact thing it was that set it off. I mean, obviously to lose the way we did -- but we lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champions too -- it forces you to look at all the little areas, things that had we won you probably wouldn't be looking at."
One of those areas is in the leadership core of the team. Wilson has talked about a perceived separation between the older players such as Thornton and Marleau and the younger players such as Couture, Vlasic and Hertl.
"I think he's thinking that we can get more out of each other on the ice if you're a tight-knit group," Marleau said. "That's something they're looking at, obviously. For the most part, that comes as young guys and old guys just getting together away from the rink, but even going through the struggles. Obviously this is a huge struggle that we're going through now and I think that's going to bring us together."
Marleau said he never sensed a rift in the dressing room this season, but that doesn't mean there wasn't one.
"That's the thing, none of this stuff usually comes out of the woodwork until something like this happens," he said, referring to the loss to the Kings. "Everybody thinks it's fine and everybody thinks it's good, then something like this happens and you're like, 'Well, maybe it's not as good as we thought it was.' "