The Case for Patrick Marleau:
After the Shark's worst season since 2002, there is blood in the water here in San Jose, and the fans have descended on their franchise like....well...Sharks; violently attacking players, coaches and management in a desperate attempt to find a reason for the teams lack of success. On top of the list of those to blame is former captain Patrick Marleau.
I'm here to dive into the water and defend our 32 year old center, who will be entering his 15th season as a Shark. For those fans with bad long-term memory, let's ignore the fact that Marleau leads the Sharks all time in goals, points, powerplay goals, game winning goals and overtime goals. Instead I'll focus on his more recent performances. Since the lockout Patty has finished top 30 in points in four of his last seven seasons, and top 30 in goals five times in the last seven seasons. He has averaged over 33 goals and 72 points a season since the lockout, failing to reach the 30 goals plateau only once. The last time he had a bad year(07-08) he came back with 82 goals and 154 points in his next two seasons. Any fantasy fanatics out there know that player's stats tend to return to their mean, especially after a performance like Marleau had last year. So I don't think it's too outrageous to think Patty can bounce back and have a stellar season in 2012.
So why are the fans in San Jose crying out for Marleau to be traded? The most popular reason that comes up is his playoff performance. After scoring no points with a plus/minus rating of -1 in his five games against the Blues, this can seem like a legitimate point. But in his previous eight playoff appearances Marleau contributed 33 goals and 80 points. He also leads the Sharks all-time in playoff points, goals, powerplay goals, game winning goals and overtime goals. So the idea that he isn't a clutch performer may just be a figment of our imaginations.
The second argument fans have against Marleau is his age. At 32 he isn't exactly young, but to say he is too old and past his prime is pretty ridiculous. In fact 11 of the top 30 scorers in 2012 were over 30. That includes Inginla(35), St.Louis(37), Thorton(33), Whitney(40) and Elias(36) all of whom are older than Marleau. I believe Patty has at least 3-4 more seasons before his age really becomes a factor.
With his impressive speed, incredible hands and god-like hockey sense I think it would be a huge mistake to trade Patrick Marleau, even after his poor playoff performance. You can argue about unmeasurable factors such as his lack of tenacity or as Jeremy Roenick likes to say, his "gutless-ness" all you want, but the concrete evidence to support his value is undeniable. He has all the ability he needs to bounce back and make a huge impact in the 20012-20013 season and beyond. On top of that he is the face of San Jose's franchise, and his life-time performance in teal will forever engrain him in the team's history. To trade Marleau would be like getting rid of San Jose's mascot "SJ Sharkie", it just doesn't feel right.Copyright 2012