Leafs Sign Patrick Marleau

by | Jul 2, 2017 | News, NHL, Rumors | 48 comments

The Toronto Maple Leafs land a big (former) Shark in left wing Patrick Marleau.

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed left wing Patrick Marleau to a three-year, $18.75 million contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual average salary is $6.5 million. In actual salary, Marleau will receive $8.5 million in 2017-18 ($7 million up front as a signing bonus), $6 million in 2018-19 ($4.5 million as a signing bonus) and $4.25 million in 2019-20 ($3 million as a signing bonus). He also carries a full no-movement clause throughout the deal.

After 19 seasons with the Sharks, Marleau moves on to a promising young Leafs club. He’ll likely skate at left wing on one of the top-two forward lines.

Marleau’s been quite durable and consistent over his long career. He reached the 20-goal plateau 14 times (including 27 goals in 2016-17) and 40 points 17 times (including 46 last season). The expectation is he’ll continue his offensive ways in Toronto, bringing some invaluable experience and leadership to the young Leafs roster.

His age and the term of his new contract, however, are cause for concern.

Marleau turns 38 in September, and while he has still put up solid numbers in recent years, decline is inevitable at this stage in his career. If he struggles in Toronto, he and Leafs management will feel the heat from the fans and pundits.

Paying an aging asset over $6 million annually for three seasons could be an expensive gamble. It could also create some salary-cap difficulties when young Leafs stars, such as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, become eligible for new contracts and significant raises within the next couple of years.



  1. This is the oddest signing of the free agents, 6.25 for a 38 yr old for 3 yrs? I guess they aren’t resigning jvr, I didn’t think they would anyways

  2. His experience and pedigree and his ability to play in key situations is invaluable. This Detroit 101! How many times were they successful with choosing the RIGHT type of aging free agent. I say what he teaches the young stars is worth the money. End of story, look at the big picture leaf fans, they want to win and create the culture of winning and professionalism. I’m all in, this group has showed me that they are calculated in their moves. Go leafs go!!!

    • To keep things in perspective, a younger Marleau couldn’t turn San Jose into a cup winner, including 2009-10 when he scored 44 goals and skated with Thornton, Heatley, Clowe, Pavelski, Malhotra, Blake etc – all equally younger – and arguably a better collection overall up front and on D than Toronto now possesses.

      This is starting to smack of the increased expectations that were prevalent when past Leafs teams brought in the likes of O’Neil, the second coming of “Dougie”, Allison etc., all of whom were greeted with “Go Leafs Go.”

      • Marleau is a part of a team, not a savior ala Connor McDavid. Was Kessel the leader of the troops when he went to Pittsburgh? No but he was an important cog in the winning machine there. I’m tired of folks focusing on Marleau never winning anything. What did Ray Bourque win before he went to Colorado? The right combo of players wins the cup, not one guy. While I agree Toronto overpaid, I trust Babcock, and being a Shark fan, that says a lot. Go Leafs!

      • Sundin never won anything and yet fans consider him one of the best of all time after spending nearly an entire career with them. Can’t put all the value in number of cups, it’s more than just that.

    • Who wants to learn from Patrick Marleau how to become inconsistent and spectators?

      Marleau joining the Maple Leafs is a head scratcher. The Maple Leafs talk talks about getting better and trending upward. When the Maple Leafs revert back to walking walks of acquiring players at the end of their careers and not contributing, there are serious issues in the front office.

  3. Not a Leafs fan but by the time the youngsters are due some of the contracts that are now on the books will be gone…Lupul, Bozak, Hainsey and JVR…that’s 16.7 mil gone

    • Regardless of that, why wouldn’t the leafs spend on something they really need defense?

      • I agree but top-4 D-men are hard to come by. Don’t know if Scandella is the answer here in Buffalo but he is definitely an upgrade and the penalty to acquire him was taking Pominville back.

      • They spent three million on a “defense man”

        Crazy signings by leafs. Mathews repeats last season he will be looking at a deal in the range of mcdavid… nylander and Marner won’t be cheap.

      • I agree chris these signings are crazy! This might be the reason hasn’t done well in the cap era?

      • Lou hasnt*

      • There are no RSD on the open market that would make the team better. Have to trade someone like JVR to get help. Hence the signing of Marleau

      • They likely feel more comfortable going at it with Rosen, Borgman, Dermott and Nielsen all fighting for spots than they do with signing a FA dman for higher than their actual worth. Pair that with Liljegren in the pipeline and the leafs may have a decent d from within the organization, in a year or two. Which is still in the timeline everyone has been so adamant about. Add on that 14+ million is in signing bonuses, when July 1st of his final season is up the Leafs owe him 1 million and can probably send him to Robidas island or trade him to a team to reach the cap floor.

        It appears the Leafs are going to try and strike gold with more rookie contracts.

      • Fighting for spots ? Or forced in to spots ? Without a true #1 or good shutdown guy everyone already has to play roles they don’t fit .. and behind that a very very questionable Reilly / gardiner , zaitsev / Hainsey top 4 , how is leaf nation is comfortable or ready to make a step forward with prospects who aren’t ready to fill the 5/6 spots and a top 4 who will be scored on heavily .

  4. lol can’t believe this one what happened to not fast tracking the rebuild. Good luck with this one I would take JVR any day.

    • Ya I don’t understand the leafs signings at all a combined age of like 109 lol

  5. Couple of things to like about this – Marleau may be 38 but he can still fly. Secondly he stays healthy. He can play centre if needed. He’s seen it all during his career. Obviously Mike Babcock loves him and will show a lot of confidence in him.
    The financial side is a worry but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marleau fulfil this contract and be a productive player all three years.

    • I agree completely!

  6. This move is odd on both sides.

  7. Off subject here…Wash signs Kuznetsov 8yrs/62.4mil then trade Johansson to NJ for a 2nd & 3rd in 2018

  8. Can’t get my head around this one….

    Marleau was invisible in the finals over a YEAR ago.
    I would assume this means JVR will be bait for a D.
    Who would not want JVR? He is big, young-ish, steps up in the playoffs… Anaheim?

    Maybe if it was 4million

    • The only problem with jvr is he is basically a rental and will go for a huge contract in a yr

  9. HOLY overpayment…… could have gotten Jagr for under 3 mill per who did a fantastic job with the young FLA kids…..

    The Caps are going to be hurting in 2 yrs with the contracts they have not he books between Ovi, Orpik, Oshie, Holtby and Kuzt. They still even have to round out their roster with only 9 mill left. WOW crazy payments. NHL blow being passed around……..

  10. This is an odd signing but I think it’s a pre-curser to trading away JVR for defensive help. Marleau can slip right into his spot. Otherwise it really makes no sense at all.

    • What do ppl think Jvr is returning with a year left until he hits the open market ? Not the d man the leafs cover in my opinion .. unless picks / prospects added . But which is it , stick to the plan , or fast track ? Wouldn’t signing jvr have been the better play here ?

      • Exactly Craig jvr isn’t gonna get a dman the leafs need it will be prospects, jvr is gonna demand big money next yr

      • I know jvr will require $ but if you can afford marleau at 6.25 for the next 3 wouldn’t an extension with jvr have been a wiser long term move ? Adding marleau is one thing but if it means having to part with jvr I don’t see how that helps long term with what jvr alone will return in trade ? Unless prospects / picks too and then again, which is it , stick to the plan ? Or fast track ? That d is ugly right now .

      • I’m wondering if they know jvr won’t resign with them? The leafs paid way too much but what I can’t get is why Marleau would go there they aren’t winning a cup in 3 yrs? Money trumps all I guess, like the Habs gm said ” if you want loyalty buy a dog”

      • JVR is not going to land a top 2 dman but he could land a 3rd pair defensemen who should be or will be a top 4 man. For example and only example Colin Miller of VGK. Thus improving the D. I didn’t say anything about landing a All Star Defenseman

      • Demers in Florida is being shopped and Florida has lost a ton of offense up front.

  11. Marleau 3 years, term is too long. Big Joe 8 mil for 1 year, coming off ACL surgery ? brutal ….Kuznetsov 7.8 for 8 years crazy. Must have been a bad batch of Kool Aid being passed around today. Next we’ll hear Bergevin caved and gave Markov a 6.5 two year deal.

    • It’s the full NM clause that makes it questionable. In other words. “if I don’t pan out … well, too bad, you’re stuck with me for 3 years …”

    • The deal is front end loaded. They can easily buy out the last year if need be and the Leafs can afford to financially over pay. JVR is going to command 7-8 years at 6+ million. Yes, he can score but his skating and defensive game is suspect. His line was exposed in the playoffs. Marleau comes in and helps the young Leafs develop into better pros and has a much stronger defensive game. It also buys time for Matthews to take the reigns as captain rather than rush him into the role. Still, this trade took me off guard but I’d rather this than vastly overpay picks / prospects for say a Hamonic. The leafs are going to move JVR by the trade deadline and possibly Bozak as well. Will these players get a 1-2 defense man? No, it won’t with the prices as they are unless they add prospect(s) / pick(s) as part of the package. Adding Moore helps in the short term as well.

      • The Bozak line was exposed in the playoffs? That’s not what I seen. They did their job and did it well.
        The Mathews line put up 13 points, the Bozak line 11 points, Boyle’s line 6 points in limited use and the Kadri line 4 points.
        Which line was exposed again?

  12. i think leafs should try and get one the kings ufa defencemen they need a bit more expence

  13. This is a good signing they will trade over now. By 3rd year bozak off books too. They only pay marleau in 4th year read into that,..if it goes awry…he goes to robidas island..or 3rd year he becomes the 3rd line centre..have cap space so it’s a no lose

    • I think the kind of roster manipulation you refer to as “Robidas Island” will soon be dealt with in a way that precludes that sort of bulls*^t. It literally stinks.

    • You do not make a leftwinger a center when he only takes 2.6 faceoffs a game during the season. Works on the pk, but not 5 on 5.

  14. why would he want to end his very good career getting slammed by the Toronto media for being old and overpaid for the next 3 years?

    Oh yeah..18 million dollars

    • AND they can’t send him anywhere else unless he agrees to the move.

      • @George: I feel your frustration.First ? U ask is just WTF are the Leafs doing?I get that: Don’t like the contract term at all..$ aside…BUT…

        Babcock wanted Marleau, Marleau understands Babcock and knows EXACTLY what he demands and believes he can make a difference. Marleau is a consistent goal scorer who rarely misses any injury time. That’s not a bad thing.
        He’s a geezer..Yep he is..but so is Jagr and look at him.

        Lou,Shanny, Babcock and Hunter banged their collective heads together and said “F**k it..Lets give it a go. I”m skeptical too..so are you.they’ve only invested $ here..and they have lots of that.but lets see how it all unfolds before we or anybody else throws Lou under a bus.

  15. Marleau combo of size and speed will be used to his advantage in Babcock’s system. Very underrated back checker. Travel not as intense on east coast. Well be very effective plater even if point totals aren’t as high as expected. Great signing by Toronto.

  16. This is a good signing overall: JVR is very inconsistent, not physical, not a team leader, and may not resign anyway, so get what they can for him and others in a package? They could get a top four for JVR and maybe a prospect or draft pick…Marleau does not hurt them in terms of $$, can still play and gives them some overall depth…

    • You can get a top 4 dman and maybe a prospect or draft pick for an inconsistent winger?

  17. This is a total head scratcher. Makes no sense at all. Why risk the ability to resign Matthews, Marner, and Nylander? they also want to address a top four dman at some point. those cost $$. And I’m sorry folks, come down from fantasy land, JVR will not net you a top four dman. Why would someone pay that when they can have him in FA after next year?

    Toronto had it right with their youth movement and then do this. Only time will tell I guess.

  18. Good lord! The sky is falling! Lol the leafs have tons of money coming off the books 2018-2021 jvr,lupul, bozak, Komarov, Moore, Gardiner,smith,Hainsey and a buyout Gleason,Marleau,martin! just from the top of my head without possibly others? Almost 35mil! with the 3 star kids they have 10mil matthews 6-7 marner 6-7 nylander 25mil no problem! Plus if the cap goes up to 75-80 in three years,and when matthews and marner contracts are do in three those guys are gone! The leaf hate is salty! And we can talk about Phaneuf 7mil,ryan 7mil Backes,Ladd, lucic! Marleau is better than all of them!

    • He was better than all of them. Is? Well that’s a different story now.
      Paying a player for what he’s done for another team and hoping he can be a consistent 40 point player for 6.25 million a year, is not the brightest of moves. They could have re-upped JVR with that money.