Patrick Marleau‘s time with the San Jose Sharks is over.
Taken second overall by San Jose in 1997, and after almost 1,500 regular season games with the Sharks, Marleau went to free agency yesterday. On Sunday, he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for three years.
Per the Maple Leafs, the annual average value is $6.25 million. According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, this contract includes a full no-movement clause. That seems like quite a price to pay for a player approaching his 38th birthday.
Marleau will celebrate that birthday in September. He joins a young and skilled Toronto team that has accelerated its rebuilding process with the selection of Auston Matthews first overall a year ago and a playoff appearance this April.
Marleau will be reunited with Mike Babcock, who coached Marleau and Team Canada to Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014.
It was reported earlier this week that the Sharks offered Marleau a two-year contract. In a game that emphasizes the importance of youth and speed, it should be noted that, despite his age, Marleau has remained productive in each of the last two seasons. He scored 27 goals in 2016-17, with 46 points.
“I think I’ve worn out a few carpets pacing around the house trying to make this decision over the last couple days,” said Marleau, per CSN Bay Area.
“But, I’m extremely excited and happy to be a part of the Maple Leafs organization. It’s definitely an honor to be able to call myself a Maple Leaf, obviously being a Canadian-born player. This decision took me quite awhile to come to, but I’ve made it, and I’m happy with it. I can’t wait to get started.”
As noted by CapFriendly, this deal puts the Maple Leafs — at least for right now — over the $75 million cap ceiling by a little less than $2.5 million. There is time, however, to remedy that situation.
Marleau scored 508 goals and 1,082 points in his long tenure with San Jose. However, as good as the Sharks have been over the years in the regular season, a championship has ultimately eluded that squad, which has endured its share of playoff disappointments.
The closest Marleau came to a Stanley Cup with the Sharks was in 2016, when San Jose lost to Pittsburgh in six games.