The Toronto Maple Leafs have lured a big fish in free agency, acquiring Patrick Marleau from the San Jose Sharks.
Marleau signed a three-year contract that carries a $6.25 million cap hit.
This is the first big sign that the Leafs are making a win-now push since they decided to proceed with a full rebuild.
While Marleau has had a long and distinguished career, he’ll turn 38 before next season. His best days are behind him, even though he was still a very productive player for San Jose last season, scoring 46 points (27-19-46) in 82 games.
Marleau is a natural centre, but has played left wing a lot in recent years. With Toronto already loaded up the middle, look for Marleau to slot in on the left side on one of the Leafs’ top two lines.
Marleau: "It was the team. The excitement that's around it. The youth. The coaching staff, the coach, the management … the players."
— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) July 2, 2017
The Aneroid, Saskatchewan native has been incredible durable during his 19-year career, spent entirely with the Sharks, never missing more than eight games in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220 centre hasn’t missed a game since the 2008-09 season.
Marleau has scored 1,082 points (508-574-1082) in his career, ranking him 62nd all-time in NHL scoring. He should pass former Maple Leafs Glenn Anderson, Frank Mahovlich, Darryl Sittler, and Joe Nieuwendyk in scoring next season.
This is a surprising development for the Sharks, who lose their franchise leader in games played, goals, points, power play goals, shorthanded goals, game-winning goals, and shots.
Internationally, Marleau has played for Team Canada numerous times, winning two Olympic gold medals (2010, 2014) under Mike Babcock, as well as World Cup gold in 2004.