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San Jose Sharks: Why Thornton, Couture Heading Overseas Is Best for the Team

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 13:  Joe Pavelski #8 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates with Logan Couture #39 and Joe Thornton #19 after scoring in the second period against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on February 13, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
Scott SemmlerAnalyst IISeptember 17, 2012

It did not take long for players to jump ship and head overseas in search of a competitive environment they will not be finding in North America anytime soon.

The NHL entered a lockout on Saturday night with no end in sight, although both sides will meet with each other within the next week.

As for the San Jose Sharks, they understand the situation, even sending out a letter to their fans this weekend.

The Sharks players understand the situation as well.

According to NHL Home Ice's Josh Rimer, Logan Couture is "close to signing a deal" with a team in Switzerland.  Couture had been a major proponent all along of a move overseas if the lockout did in fact occur.

Following him will be Joe Thornton, who will also be playing in Switzerland, according to ESPN's Pierre Lebrun.

To round it out, Jason Demers is heading to Finland and Michal Handzus is heading to Slovakia, according to The Fourth Period.

Of all the moves, Demers playing in Finland will prove best for him.

Demers has struggled since becoming a relative mainstay on the Sharks' starting defensive pairings.

Coach Todd McLellan has done nearly everything, from relocating different defensemen to playing with him to simply replacing him with Justin Braun in an attempt to light a fire under him.

No competition was not the way to go for Demers during this lockout.  He needs the playing time in order to continue to get better while he still is relatively young and carries relative potential on the Sharks' defense.

The same thing goes for Thornton and Couture, as they were the two players the Sharks would rely on if the season had started on time.

Without many major dealings this offseason, Thornton and Couture will be counted on to lead this team after a disappointing season that was followed by a rather disappointing offseason in free agency.

The Sharks' franchise is not in a competitively good place, as compared to past seasons.  But seeing players like Thornton, Couture and Demers head overseas in search of keeping their game in tip-top shape is a good sign for San Jose heading forward.

Follow me on Twitter @ScottSemmler22

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