If you’re getting nostalgic, at least make it a cheap fix, right? The Sharks gave fans warm-and-fuzzy feelings on Tuesday by bringing back Patrick Marleau. If that wasn’t enough, the Sharks also signed a familiar name in Matt Nieto.
The Sharks signed Marleau and Nieto to one-year deals. Both Marleau and Nieto signed for $700K apiece, according to the Mercury News’ Curtis Pashelka.
Sharks bring back Marleau, Nieto with one-year deals
Again, when you’re signing players for the league minimum, and for the shortest allowable term, it’s tough to quibble with such moves.
Both Marleau (41) and Nieto (27) can bring something to the table, but it’s not clear that either will move the needle in any major way. Except, of course, in the all-important “feelings” category.
Try not to smile at the possibility of Marleau breaking (1,723 games played) Gordie Howe’s all-time record for games played (1,767) while wearing a Sharks uniform.
If you needed a reminder of how special Marleau has been for the Sharks franchise, consider the list of team records they noted upon his signing:
Marleau serves as San Jose’s all-time franchise leader in points (1,102), goals (518), power-play goals (161), game-winning goals (101), games played (1,551) and ranks second in Sharks history in assists (584). San Jose made the playoffs in 17 of his 20 seasons with the club (1997-98 through 2016-17, 2019-20), and Marleau currently ranks first in Sharks playoff history in games played (177), goals (68), points (120), power-play goals (23) and game-winning goals (16). He served as the team’s captain from 2003 through 2009.
After a bumpy season for Marleau, it’s probably comforting for the veteran to return home.
Via Cap Friendly, Marleau boasts more than $95 million in career earnings, and is receiving $416,667 from the Hurricanes buyout, so it’s a solid situation for him, too.
Quick look at Nieto
Meanwhile, Nieto scored 20+ points in each of his past three seasons with the Avalanche. Colorado claimed Nieto off of waivers from the Sharks back in 2017, so it’s been a while since Nieto wore teal. Realistically, he might have the bigger chance to make an on-ice impact, although Marleau is certainly impressive for a 41-year-old.
Matt Nieto, signing with SJ, is a capable middle-six two-way forward who isn't a great shooter. #SjSharks pic.twitter.com/vTPJKLLtUW
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) October 13, 2020
Again, signing Marleau and Nieto won’t make or break the Sharks’ bid to rebound. Instead, they’ll need better seasons from Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns. Ideally, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl will stay healthy.
With such rebounds unclear, it doesn’t hurt to throw fans a bone. Bringing back Patrick Marleau qualifies as much for Sharks fans, I’d bet.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.