Why San Jose Sharks' Core Should Return for 2013-14 Season

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Why San Jose Sharks' Core Should Return for 2013-14 Season
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The San Jose Sharks relied on core players for too much in 2013.

Many fans and analysts are wondering whether the San Jose Sharks will trade away one of their core players this summer. It is the perfect example of over-thinking.

The thought is that, as three core players will be on the wrong side of their 34th birthday by the time the 2013-14 NHL season starts and face free agency after it is over, the Sharks need to get returns on them now.

But the only way that makes sense is if they want to move on entirely.

The three players being considered for a move are Dan Boyle, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. These three have been the most important Sharks since the 2009-10 season, but have since been giving way to Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Antti Niemi.

The timing does not make sense. They are obviously not going to move those talented players for older ones, so the younger players they get in return are not going to be as good.

It does not make sense to back off when they were one or two plays away from being Western Conference finalists in 2013.

The reason the Sharks got as far as they did was the core. Niemi was stellar in net while Boyle, Marleau, Thornton, Pavelski and Couture shouldered the load offensively.

Only six players had more than one goal in the playoffs—the only six scoring even a point per two games in the 2013 NHL season. Brent Burns and the five core players accounted for 77 of 116 goals (66.4 percent) and 179 of 310 points (57.7 percent).

The gap was more pronounced in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Only the core five each had more than four points in 11 games. They accounted for 19 of the club's 25 total goals (76 percent) and 49 of 71 points (69 percent).

Moving any member of the core indicates giving up on the 2014 Stanley Cup.

If the season does not go in the right direction, all those players will have value at the trade deadline. For now, let's look at each core skater's performance in 2013 and examine the benefits of holding them over trading them.

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