Hurricanes acquire Marleau, set to buy him out

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Patrick Marleau is a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, but only for a moment.

The Toronto Maple Leafs shipped the 39-year-old, a conditional first-round pick, and a seventh-rounder in the 2020 NHL Draft to Raleigh in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the same draft. The condition of the first round pick is this: If the pick is in the Top-10 in 2020, Carolina instead receives Toronto’s 2021 first-round selection.

Marleau, meanwhile, is expected to be bought out by the Hurricanes after waiving his no-movement clause, although the Hurricanes are expected to try and convince him to play with the ‘Bunch of Jerks’.

As Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports, Marleau would like to return to San Jose once the free agency period opens on July 1.

For the Leafs, they get something in return in the way of a late draft pick next year, but the real reward is the cap space it frees up. Toronto doesn’t retain any of Marleau’s salary, meaning they have $6.25 million added to a budget that was getting increasingly tighter.

The team is trying to re-sign Mitch Marner on a deal that’s reportedly going to be worth north of $10 million. They also have to sign Kasperi Kapanen in a deal that was reported as being “close” yesterday and basically done today.

Marleau played two seasons with the Maple Leafs after signing in Toronto as a free agent in July 2017.

Marleau had played 19 seasons with the San Jose Sharks prior to joining the Maple Leafs. He scored 508 goals and 1,082 points in a Sharks sweater. With Leafs, Marleau had 43 goals and 84 points in 164 games.

More importantly, Marleau was a mentor to Auston Matthews et al.

“He’s so important,” Matthews told the Toronto Sun recently. “I talk to him all the time. For myself, it’s really tough to put into words. He’s just such a good human being. He’s so unselfish. Puts everyone above him. I could tell you a hundred stories where we go to dinner and before we know it, he’s given his credit card to the waitress when nobody was looking. He always took care of guys.

“It didn’t matter if you were a veteran or a rookie, he treated everyone the same. No matter what happens, that relationship with him and Mitch isn’t going to change. It’s going to suck not seeing him all the time and spending time with him.”

If Marleau is to be bought out and is to return to San Jose, it’s likely he could sign a very team-friendly, bonus-laden deal given he’s already getting paid for next year and anything on top of that is double-dipping.

Carolina’s cap situation, with Marleau, looks like this at the moment:

Patrick, through his wife Christina’s Twitter account, posted a thank you note to the Maple Leafs, their fans and the city of Toronto.

“It was an honor to play with the iconic Maple Leaf on my jersey and be a part of Leaf nation,” Marleau wrote.

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Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck.