A po­ten­tial Sharks reunion with Mar­leau?

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Sports - BY CURTIS PASHELKA Mer­cury News

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded Patrick Mar­leau to the Carolina Hur­ri­canes on Satur­day morn­ing, clear­ing one big hur­dle for the Sharks leg­end to po­ten­tially re­turn to the or­ga­ni­za­tion he called home for 19 sea­sons.

Carolina, ac­cord­ing to Sport­snet’s El­liotte Fried­man, is ex­pected to buy out the fi­nal sea­son of the three-year, $18.75 mil­lion con­tract Mar­leau signed with the Maple Leafs on July 2, 2017. If that is the case, Mar­leau would then be­come an un­re­stricted free agent, able to sign with any NHL team.

NHL an­a­lyst Nick Kypreos men­tioned ear­lier this week on Sport­snet ra­dio in Toronto that Mar­leau wanted to re­turn to San Jose. But Mar­leau’s salary cap hit of $6.25 mil­lion for the 2019-20 sea­son made a di­rect trade from the Leafs to the Sharks pro­hib­i­tive. A third team needed to get in­volved.

That turned out to be the Hur­ri­canes, who can also try to con­vince Mar­leau to stay in Carolina. Bar­ring that, though, they will buy out the fi­nal year of his deal but have to eat his en­tire $6.25 mil­lion cap hit for the up­com­ing sea­son.

Per­haps that’s why Carolina was also able to get two draft choices from the Maple Leafs in the deal – a con­di­tional firstround pick in the 2020 NHL

Draft and a sev­enth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

If Mar­leau is bought out, that would al­low another team, such as the Sharks, to sign him to a much more team-friendly con­tract.

It is still un­known whether the Sharks would be in­ter­ested in a reunion with Mar­leau, who, when he left the Sharks two years ago, owned nearly every of­fen­sive record in Sharks his­tory.

The Sharks have a cap hit of roughly $66.6 mil­lion for 15 play­ers for next sea­son, ac­cord­ing to CapFriendl­y.com, and have sev­eral items re­main­ing on their to-do list for this sum­mer. That in­cludes new con­tracts for pend­ing re­stricted free agents Timo Meier and Kevin La­banc, and de­cid­ing what they want to do with cap­tain and pend­ing UFA Joe Pavel­ski.

Next year's salary cap, while not of­fi­cial, is ex­pected to be ei­ther $81.5 or $82 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to mul­ti­ple re­ports.

Mar­leau played 1,493 reg­u­lar sea­son games with the Sharks over 19 sea­sons, col­lect­ing 508 goals and 574 as­sists.

In two sea­sons with Toronto, Mar­leau had 43 goals and 41 as­sists in 164 reg­u­lar sea­son games as he av­er­aged 16 min­utes and 40 sec­onds of ice time per game.

MAD­DIE MEYER TNS

Patrick Mar­leau of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on against the Boston Bru­ins dur­ing Game 7 of the Eastern Con­fer­ence first-round play­off se­ries at TD Gar­den in Boston on April 23.

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