Toronto Maple Leafs sign Patrick Marleau to a three-year deal

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 07: Patrick Marleau
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 07: Patrick Marleau /

The Toronto Maple Leafs made one of the biggest splashes in free agency signing Patrick Marleau to a three-year contract extension.

It appears that the Toronto Maple Leafs are ready to push forward with this core after signing Patrick Marleau to a three-year $18.75-million contract. The Leafs announced the move Sunday evening after being a front runner for the 37-year old since free agency began. The deal does include a no-movement clause.

After signing Ron Hainsey and Dominic Moore yesterday, it appears that the Leafs were not going to remain quiet as their window to compete opens. Marleau is a player who check many boxes for the Leafs who are taking a chance on a player with the term but given their cap situation, it is a risk they were willing to take.

Marleau scored 27 goals, 19 assists in 82 games this season for the San Jose Sharks and would not be a stretch to think he can score more with the Leafs. He would likely be played on a line with Auston Matthews and William Nylander. That is a major upgrade over Zach Hyman who had 10 goals on a line with Matthews. Babcock is also familiar with Marleau who played for Team Canada with the Leafs head coach at the helm.

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Marleau is also shown that he can be a durable player for the Leafs as he has not missed a game since 2009, a streak of 624 games. Marleau’s usage was down last season where he played 17:09 on average but is usually playing more than 19:00 a night which will likely happen with the Leafs. He has experience taking faceoffs winning 53.5 percent of his draws which gives the Leafs options especially with defensive draws.

Where Marleau will help the Leafs is even strength scoring especially since 20 of his 27 goals came at five-on-five. His defensive ability are another strength with his strong skating. The Leafs are taking a risk giving Marleau a three-year deal but there was no way that he was going to leave San Jose for a similar deal elsewhere.

The Leafs can afford this both financially and still have flexibility on the cap especially because they did not have to give up assets to acquire a top line winger. It would also offset the potential loss of James van Riemsdyk if he were to leave after his contract is done next season.

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Adding Marleau will also make Toronto a prime destination for other players to come like Jason Demers who reportedly refused to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Vancouver Canucks. Marleau and Demers were teammates in San Jose and the Leafs were also apparently rumoured to be interested in the 29-year old right-handed shot defenceman.