The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed forward Patrick Marleau to a three-year deal worth $18.75 million. The 37-year-old was an unrestricted free agent and has spent the entirety of his career with the San Jose Sharks, who drafted him as the second overall pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
The Saskatchewan native will provide the Maple Leafs with a veteran presence and a lot of versatility, as Marleau can line up at any forward position. He may have tapered off a fair bit as his career winds down, but he’s still capable of putting up points.
In 2016-2017, Marleau had 27 goals and 19 assists for a total of 46 points. He scored seven goals on the power play.
Marleau has experience playing with Toronto head coach Mike Babcock. He won the gold medal at two Olympics with the current Maple Leafs bench boss at the helm.
Marleau’s best NHL season came in 2005-2006 as he put up 86 points in 82 games, including 34 goals. He scored 44 goals in 2009-2010 and has scored at least 20 goals 14 times throughout his career thus far. He could build on those totals in Toronto.
Reports had San Jose pushing to keep Marleau. They offered him a two-year contract after a one-year deal went unsigned.
Pushing things to three years was likely what tilted the scales for the Maple Leafs. And while Marleau’s age could be seen as a factor under ordinary circumstances, it pays to remember that the dude hasn’t missed a game in eight seasons.
These are exciting days for Toronto fans and Marleau could help bolster the roster at just the right time. He joins a team that includes Calder winner Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marcher. Marleau’s leadership should be just the ticket for the young guns and the learning experience they’ll receive will be invaluable.
And if Marleau can pop in some offence along the way, so much the better.
Toronto has been fixing its sights on veteran presence as of late, with defenceman Ron Hainsey signed yesterday and Dominic Moore a new addition for the fourth line.