Patrick Marleau joined the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent this summer on a massive three-year contract. A reward for the young stars in Toronto from Lou Lamoriello and Brendan Shanahan, Marleau’s signing signals the organization is ready to win now.
Toronto Maple Leafs Roster Preview, 50-in-50: Patrick Marleau
Patrick Marleau was selected second overall in the 1997 draft by the San Jose Sharks, turning out to be one of the best moves the franchise has ever made.
Marleau lived up to the reputation of being a top two pick in his first season, banging in 32 points in his rookie year. The total was good enough for the young forward to finish sixth in the Calder voting. There wasn’t any time for a sophomore slump either. He added 13 points to his rookie total in his second season, establishing himself as one of the new offensive talents in the league.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The Records (via HockeyReference)
20 years later, Marleau has one of the most accomplished active careers in the NHL.
Patrick Marleau is the franchise leader for the San Jose Sharks in a bunch of categories, including goals (508), points (1082), and games played (1493), just to name a few.
Despite San Jose’s lack of success in the playoffs over the last 20 years, Marleau has still racked up 177 games of playoff experience over his career. He was a key contributor to the San Jose team that competed for the Stanley Cup in the 2015-16 season, losing to Pittsburgh in a hard fought six game series.
Marleau’s international career only adds to his resume. He is a two time Gold Medal winner with Team Canada in 2010 and 2014. During the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, Marleau played for his new head coach, Mike Babcock.
In the 2016-2017 season, Marelau scored 27 goals with 19 assists. It was a bit of a drop in production, considering it was his lowest point totals since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.
Having said that, Marleau has been an iron man of the league since then. His 624 consecutive games played is the third longest active streak in the league behind only Keith Yandle (624) and Andrew Cogliano (786).
Due to his experience, Marleau was often depended upon to play hard fought offensive and defensive minutes against the other teams top defensive pairings and forwards. The same will be expected of him in Toronto. After all, Marleau will likely be a first ballot Hockey Hall of Famer.
Profile (via Elite Prospects)
Weight: 220 lbs
Draft: First Round, 2nd Overall in 1997 by San Jose
Contract (via CapFriendly)
Patrick Marleau’s contract has led to some suspicion that he may not play in the third year of his deal. This year, Marleau received a whopping $7 million signing bonus, while he will make just $1.5 million in base salary over the year.
In year two, the signing bonus drops to $4.5 million, while his base salary stays at $1.5 million. In the third year, the signing bonus once again drops, this time to “just” $3 million. His base salary falls to $1.25 million in the final year as well.
All of this means Marleau will carry a cap hit of $6.25 million for three years. The third year of the contract is a little suspicious, as a cap strapped Maple Leafs team could easily dump off the $1.25 million Marleau to a team in need of reaching the cap floor. A budget team would be spending $1.25 million in real dollars, while taking on a $6.25 million cap hit.
In addition to Marleau’s expensive contract, he also has a no move clause.
Expectations could not be bigger for the Maple Leafs this season. The same goes for Patrick Marleau. The fans got a taste of the playoffs last season and have a lot to be excited about. Marleau will likely slot in on the left side of Auston Matthews, with William Nylander playing the other wing. This could lead to a jump in offensive production for everyone involved, as Marleau is much more experienced and offensively skilled then Zach Hyman.
A huge part of his role will be off the ice though. Marleau is expected to be a leader in the locker room, helping the young members of the Toronto Maple Leafs develop into a Stanley Cup contenders.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images