NEWARK, N.J. -- The NHL trade deadline looms this week, and the possibility that Sunday afternoon's game against the New Jersey Devils might be someone's last in a Sharks jersey is not lost on anyone in the San Jose locker room.
And between now and the noon (PST) Wednesday cutoff point, it doesn't matter whether that player has been in the rumor mill or not.
"No, just because your name's not out there, that doesn't mean you're not going, and vise versa -- just because it is doesn't mean you are going," said defenseman Dan Boyle. "You just deal with it. It does effect everybody to a certain degree, but you try to not let it."
Boyle, 37, becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1, and his name likely has come up when other teams contact general manager Doug Wilson about trade possibilities.
However, the defenseman with a limited no-trade clause has made it clear he would like to stay in San Jose, and there's no indication that Wilson feels otherwise, though the two sides disagree on the length of that next contract.
Boyle continues to seek a multiyear deal while the Sharks would prefer a series of one-year contracts to take advantage of provisions in the labor agreement that are spelled out for players over 35.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan recognizes that deadline distractions are a fact of life in the NHL.
"There's our environment," he said. "I'm sure there are individuals wondering what's going to happen. It's human nature to contemplate the unknown, and nobody really knows what's going to happen over the next little bit."
By this point a year ago, Wilson's "refresh and reset on the fly" that has kept the Sharks well-positioned for a playoff run already had begun. Before it was over, Ryane Clowe, Douglas Murray and Michal Handzus had departed and Raffi Torres and Scott Hannan had arrived.
Wilson has indicated that he considers Torres' return from a knee injury almost the same as acquiring him at the deadline, and that the return of Logan Couture provides a similar late-season boost. There are also salary cap considerations that make the likelihood of a significant acquisition unlikely unless players of equal compensation are leaving.
So how is Wilson approaching the Wednesday deadline? He hinted at his thinking in a conversation just before the Olympic break.
"You want to help, but you have your own people coming back that have been in training camp, know the system and have been through this journey together," he said. "But you better make sure they're healthy and can be at the top of their games."
He added there's no way the team would move younger players such as Tomas Hertl or defenseman prospect Mirco Mueller.
"Are we moving our first-round pick? No," Wilson said. "We're in the phase where, yes, we're trying to win. Are we going to use our young assets when we're two-thirds of the way through a reset and refresh? Unlikely. I never say never, but unlikely."
Clowe, who played Saturday against the New York Islanders on a line with Michal Ryder and Andrei Loktionov, has two goals and an assist in his past two games after going scoreless the previous six. Overall, he has five goals and 16 points in 29 games after missing 32 games earlier in the season with a head injury.