|Saturday, March 8
Updated: May 16, 6:03 PM ET
Sharks get two draft picks for Marchment
But Marchment's reputation -- and his impending unrestricted free agency -- didn't scare the Avalanche, who made a key acquisition in the days before the trading deadline for the fifth straight season.
Marchment had been an integral part of the Sharks' defense since 1998, playing his usual antagonistic role in San Jose's many battles with conference rival Colorado. But the disappointing Sharks are stripping away every luxury at the close of their lost season.
"I don't think there was any way we were going to be able to sign him (this summer), so I guess he was the classic rental player at this point," San Jose general manager Dean Lombardi said.
"There's only one guy like him. ... That's the ultimate compliment you can give to an athlete, that you'd hate to play against them, but they'd love to play with you. There's probably not a guy in this league that wouldn't want him on their team."
The Avalanche, still hoping to catch Vancouver in their quest for an NHL-record ninth consecutive division title, eagerly acquired Marchment for a fairly low price. After beating Philadelphia 2-1 on Saturday night, Colorado is four points behind the Canucks.
With the Sharks essentially out of the playoff race, Lombardi is in the midst of the painful task of discarding several key elements of the team he built. Last Thursday was the seventh anniversary of Lombardi's ascension to the top job in the Sharks' hockey operations.
On Wednesday, the Sharks traded captain Owen Nolan to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Alyn McCauley, Brad Boyes and another draft pick. Earlier this season, forward Niklas Sundstrom and defenseman Jeff Jillson were traded.
"It's similar to the feeling with Owen now," Lombardi said of trading Marchment, who he acquired from Tampa Bay on March 24, 1998. "As far as the emotions, it's very similar. Those guys had very much a part of the identity we were trying to establish. It's hard to lose them."
Lombardi has entertained many trade offers for veteran forwards Vincent Damphousse and Teemu Selanne in recent days, and both seem likely candidates to be moved before Tuesday's deadline. The Avalanche are going after Damphousse with particular vigor, but Lombardi said no deal has been reached yet.
By outmaneuvering at least five other teams for Marchment, Colorado general manager Pierre Lacroix added another coup to his collection of bold deals.
The Avalanche are no strangers to rent-a-players: They picked up Darius Kasparaitis from Pittsburgh shortly before last year's trading deadline; they acquired Rob Blake from Los Angeles in 2001; they got Ray Bourque from Boston in 2000; and they acquired Theo Fleury from Calgary in a similar scenario four years ago.
Of the five, Kasparaitis and Fleury left the Avalanche after the season, while Bourque stayed one more year before retiring. Blake signed a long-term deal with Colorado.
Marchment chose the Avalanche from a list of suitors presented by Lombardi. Marchment played in the Sharks' loss at Phoenix on Saturday night, but flew home immediately to see his family before joining the Avalanche.
"Fortunately, the word is that it's a deep draft, and we've had some success in those," Lombardi said. "Hopefully we can find another Bryan Marchment. I don't know if that will happen, because I don't know if there will ever be another Bryan Marchment."
As a result of Marchment's trade, the Sharks recalled defenseman Rob Davison from AHL club Cleveland on Sunday.
Davison has four points and 82 penalty minutes in 42 games with Cleveland. He was a fourth-round draft pick in 1998.