When the Toronto Maple Leafs traded Patrick Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes who subsequently bought him out earlier this summer, it wasn’t expected to end his career. The 40-year old forward made it clear that he wanted to continue playing, but the season eventually started without a contract being signed. Marleau has continued to skate hoping something would come up however, and Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic tweets that things are “heating up” with regards to a potential offer. LeBrun reports that multiple teams including the San Jose Sharks have reached out to Marleau’s camp.
Any contract for Marleau now would obviously qualify as a 35+ deal, meaning it comes with certain restrictions and benefits. For one, it would mean that if the veteran forward retired at any point or was bought out, the entire cap hit would remain on the books. However it also allows a team to include performance bonuses in a one-year deal, something that could limit the risk involved with adding a player of his age after the season has already started.
For the Sharks, who are dealing with some injuries up front (Marcus Sorensen is now listed as day-to-day according to Kevin Kurz of The Athletic), would have to send down or waive one of their other forwards in order to even bring Marleau on board, and it would need to be for a near-minimum salary in order to fit in under the cap ceiling. The team would have to worry about potential bonuses being carried over to next season, though obviously there are infinite ways to structure the contract at this point.
There has been a prevailing though that Marleau would prefer the end up on the west coast, but at this point perhaps other teams are reaching out to see if he’ll consider somewhere else. Former Sharks teammate Joe Thornton just this morning told Kurz that Marleau “should be playing somewhere,” indicating that his old friend can still skate well enough to be in the league. Marleau scored 16 goals and 37 points in 82 games with the Maple Leafs last season, and hasn’t missed a game due to injury since the 2008-09 season.