This summer the San Jose Sharks made the decision to let veteran forward Patrick Marleau walk as an unrestricted free agent, resulting in him signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs. While Marleau has found success on his new team, it sounds like the Sharks are feeling the effects of the gap left by Marleau's absence.
There have now been a number of rumors suggesting that the Sharks are currently shopping for a forward to help fill that void and now we have have a better idea of what they may be willing to give up to get it.
From Sharks reporter Paul Gackle of the Mercury News:
Like it or not, Ryan is likely the blue liner that will be shipped out of town if the Sharks go shopping for more scoring in February. The Sharks can’t afford to cut ties with Tim Heed (the guy that everyone is probably asking about) because they need his offense from the backend and Dylan DeMelo won’t have enough value as a guy who can’t crack the team’s top six.
Gackle is referring to 24-year-old defenseman Joakim Ryan, a former Sharks 7th round draft choice that has been drawing comparisons to Sharks veteran defenseman Paul Martin. It's those comparisons that are likely to fuel Ryan' value on the trade market, and Gackle believes that while general manager Doug Wilson may not necessarily want to give up Ryan in a trade deal, he will need a significant trade chip to get what want and Ryan is that guy in his estimation.