San Jose center Patrick Marleau has no plans to retire when his contract expires at the end of this season, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports. The 37 year old is in his 19th NHL year, all with the Sharks.
Whether or not Marleau’s career would continue with the only NHL franchise he’s ever known is a big question though. Last season there were reports that he would look favorably on a trade and rumblings that he and head coach Peter DeBoer weren’t on the same page although Marleau said that was blown out of proportion.
This season, his role has been scaled back. While he remains a fixture on the top power play unit, he is no longer a regular on the penalty while his ice time has dropped to a little under 17 minutes per game. For comparison, the last time he played under 17 minutes a night was back in 2001-02. Marleau also finds himself out of the top six at 5-on-5 play and has exclusively played the left wing so far this season instead of his natural position at center.
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Marleau is one of San Jose’s ‘big three’ pending unrestricted free agents joining center Joe Thornton and defenseman Brent Burns. Earlier this week, TSN’s Bob McKenzie suggested that Thornton could be in line for another three year deal while Burns will be in line for a significant raise as potentially the most prominent UFA next summer.
It’s safe to suggest that if he does return for a 20th season, be it in San Jose or elsewhere, Marleau will likely be headed for a pay cut. He currently is making $6.5MM in salary this year with a cap hit of just under $6.7MM. Kurz adds that any decision on his future will likely wait until the conclusion of this season.