SAN JOSE – Ryane Clowe has come to grips with his situation as Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline approaches.
The Sharks forward has been mentioned over and over again for weeks as being potentially on the move, and the Sharks have been in discussions with his agent about possible destinations. Clowe has a full no-trade clause.
“I’m aware of what’s going on. Obviously, anything that happens with me, has to go through me,” Clowe said on Monday morning.
Has it been difficult?
“It’s not bad. Maybe a month ago, at times, you let it get to you because as a player, you’re struggling and not playing the way you want to. I’ve kind of put that behind me. I think my game is where it needs to be, and good things will start happening. I think I’m playing the best hockey of the season that I’ve played so far, so that’s a good sign.”
Clowe wouldn’t put a percentage on the chances he’s still a Shark after April 3. There are options, though, as the unrestricted free agent-to-be could go to a team and sign a contract extension, or end up with a top contender as a rental player for a playoff push.
The most likely destinations based on various reports and scout sightings appear to be Philadelphia, Montreal, Boston, Vancouver and Minnesota. Four of those clubs are virtual locks to make it to the postseason, while the defensively poor and injury-ravaged Flyers are a long shot.
“If I go somewhere and get traded somewhere I’m not just going to sign unless I see potential,” Clowe said. “That’s something I’d definitely be open to. On the other hand, if it had to come down to going somewhere as a rental, it would probably be more towards a team that’s a top team and looking at making a run. It’s all on the table if it happens."
And if nothing happens?
"I’d handle it just like I handled the last three games – play my ass off, just like I have.”
Clowe recently returned from a four-game absence with a shoulder injury and has two assists in his last three games. He had several scoring chances in the Sharks’ 3-2 win on Saturday over Phoenix, but is still looking for his first goal.
“I think I usually play my best hockey down the stretch and into the playoffs, so that’s probably what teams are looking for,” he said.
“You look on the other end and say, ‘this guy has no goals this year, it’s kind of funny that teams want him.’ But, I think overall you look at the body of work and late in the last four or five years, I’ve been pretty consistent. I’d be the first to tell you that I haven’t had the year I wanted, but I still feel confident in my game. I’m 30 years old, and feel like I’m in my prime.”
There was no animosity or ire in Clowe’s voice as he calmly answered questions from local media as well as a horde from Vancouver. A true professional in every sense of the word, Clowe sounded sincere that he’s resigned to whatever his fate may be. If another team wants his services and the Sharks are looking to deal him for future prospects or picks, so be it.
“You get to a point where you just come to grips with it,” Clowe said. “I didn’t know if the last three games could have been my last game (as a Shark), that’s always a possibility. In a way, it’s sad. I think I came to the point that whatever the future holds I’m ready for. When you’ve got teams that really want you and feel that you can make a difference on their team, as a player you know you’re going to go in somewhere where you’re really wanted.”
“I’m still here. I’m still all-in until I’m gone. We’ll see what happens.”