Joe Thornton wants to keep playing with Patrick Marleau, preferably with the San Jose Sharks. He made that clear after the Sharks lost to the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference First Round.

"Hopefully I can come back and Patty can come back," Thornton told reporters then. "I think this is a very good team. I think this is a Stanley Cup-caliber team. I really believe that."

But two months have passed without Thornton or Marleau signing with the Sharks. Each veteran forward has received significant interest from around the NHL during the interview period this week and will become an unrestricted free agent at 12 p.m. ET on July 1.

The closer we come to free agency, the more you wonder: Will the two greatest players in San Jose history be back? Will the Sharks be a Stanley Cup-caliber team without them, at least in the short term?

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has tough decisions to make.

Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic ($4.85 million salary-cap charge, according to CapFriendly.com) and goaltender Martin Jones ($3 million) have one season left each on their contracts and are eligible to sign extensions starting Saturday. Vlasic is 30, Jones 27.

Forwards Logan Couture ($6 million) and Joe Pavelski ($6 million) have two seasons left on their contracts and are eligible to sign extensions next July 1. Couture is 28. Pavelski turns 33 on July 11.