Just talked with Ryane Clowe’s Quebec-based agent, Paul Corbeil.
He, too, had seen the TSN.ca reports from the NHL draft site saying Clowe was the subject of trade talks that Sharks GM Doug Wilson was having in Montreal with several teams, Toronto and Philadelphia among them.
Corbeil, of course, knows that Clowe’s current contract expires July 1, when he becomes a restricted free agent. Any team to which Clowe is traded would retain his rights for another year, when Clowe turns 27, but after July 1 his new team could have to deal with offers from other franchises that might be interested in luring him away.
Conceivably, that could limit what Clowe brings in return.
“You never know, Ryane could be traded,” Corbeil said. “But I think Doug tried to see the value for Ryane Clowe.”
Wilson did return my call early this evening, but he wouldn’t confirm or deny the reports on TSN.ca, saying only that negotiations with Clowe were ongoing. If one way for Wilson to strengthen his position is to see his value on the market, the GM wasn’t saying.
Corbeil backed up everything Clowe talked to me about yesterday. How Clowe wants to stay in San Jose and isn’t eager to test the RFA market, how he and Clowe both understand the salary cap restrictions that the Sharks are facing.
Corbeil wouldn’t provide details of his contract counter-proposal, but described the current one as “a real fair offer in the market right now. We don’t ask for the sky.”
The agent said he understood that Wilson needed to check out all his possibilities when it comes to Clowe’s future, and said it was the natural that rumors would be circulating just before the NHL draft.
“All the GMs are here right now and all the agents. All the journalists,” Corbeil said. “It’s the time for the rumors.”
Like Corbeil, I wouldn’t rule out anything. Both Wilson and Coach Todd McLellan were disappointed in the performance of the Sharks’ second line in the playoffs and Clowe is on that line. But I also wouldn’t automatically jump to the conclusion that he’s played his last game in teal.