The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Patrick Marleau to a one-year contract worth $700,000, the team announced Tuesday. The Sharks were among the teams reportedly interested in the services of the 40-year-old veteran and ultimately brought him home to the team that he called home for nearly 20 years.
Drafted second overall in 1997 (behind only now long-time Shark Joe Thornton), Marleau would play in 74 games during his rookie season as an 18-year-old in San Jose, scoring 13 goals and 32 points and immediately proving to the team that they made a good decision in selecting him.
During his storied career with the Sharks, Marleau would record numbers worth of the Hall of Fame, including his 508 goals and 1,082 points in 1,493 games. Scoring at least 20 goals 14 times during his first tenure in San Jose, Marleau would also record upwards of 30 goals seven times, including 44 goals in 2009-10.
He remains the franchise’s all-time scoring leader.
With both sides moving on following the 2017-18 season, Marleau would sign a three-year contract worth $18.75 million to bring veteran leadership to an otherwise young Toronto lineup.
The match made sense and Marleau would be productive during his time in Toronto, scoring 27 goals in his first season with the team and scoring another 16 goals last season.
Unfortunately, the salary cap is an ever-present threat in the NHL and the Maple Leafs would package Marleau and a conditional first-round pick in 2020 (as well as a seventh-round pick in 2020) to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2020.
The pick is lottery-protected and should it land in the top-10 range, it will instead become a 2021 first-round pick.
The Hurricanes would buy-out Marleau, however, leaving him a free agent in search of a home for the 2019-20 season.
Marleau Still Has a Lot in the Tank
Marleau will be a welcomed sight in San Jose and Thornton himself said earlier on Tuesday that he should already be on a team.
It didn’t take long for Marleau to land with a team after these comments, and it isn’t surprising to see that he returned to such a familiar team.
For the Sharks, it makes sense to bring Marleau back into the mix, especially given how low-risk of a deal he comes with. A one-year deal worth basically the league-minimum is great value for a player who has scored 42 goals and 84 points over the last two seasons. It’s also important to note that the veteran hasn’t missed a single game in the last 10 seasons.
Marleau is also a fan-favorite in San Jose and his return will undoubtedly be an emotional one for all those in attendance, including his long-time teammates who get to welcome him back into the fold of what the team hopes will be a Championship contender despite a dreadful start to the season.