When the season began, the San Jose Sharks looked like the team to beat in the Western Conference and Patrick Marleau was looking like the front runner for the Hart Trophy. A couple of weeks later, that isn’t at all the case anymore.
The Sharks are still in playoff contention, currently sitting in fifth in the Western Conference. After dropping several games in a row following their 7-0-0 start, they’re hovering around .500. Whether or not they can regain that form from just a few weeks ago remains to be seen.
If they’re going to do so, they’re going to need Patrick Marleau to come back to the forefront of the conversation as an MVP candidate. He looked unstoppable early on this season, and has fallen deep into the abyss since a torrid start.
Marleau’s 12 goals actually still lead the team, and he trails only Joe Thornton in points. Marleau has 18 on the year, four behind Thornton’s 18. Marleau’s total falls quite short of where you might imagine he’d be after that start.
Marleau started the season off with a six-game point streak. In those six games to start the year, he had 14 of his 18 points. The fact that when that streak came to an end, the Sharks started struggling, can’t be a coincidence, can it?
Since that point, Marleau has only four points, with two goals and two assists. He’s also managed to sink and fall back onto the negative side of plus-minus, currently sitting at a minus-1 for the year.
If the Sharks want to find their form again and get to the point where they won’t be fighting for a playoff spot in the last days of the regular season, Marleau is going to have to regain the type of play that he was putting on earlier in the year. If not, get ready for a great deal of selling to take place from this club around the trade deadline.