After an incredibly busy weekend full of signings and trades, it's become quite clear that the NHL's silly season is in full swing. The free agent floodgates opened up this past Saturday and hockey fans saw some exciting names ink massive deals with new organizations.
Kevin Shattenkirk was the biggest prize of the day and the right-handed defenseman eventually committed to the New York Rangers. Over on the west coast, San Jose Sharks mainstay, Joe Thornton, re-upped with his team after a brief window of uncertainty. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs added veteran depth by bringing in a couple of 36-year-olds: centre Dominic Moore and Stanley Cup-winning blueliner, Ron Hainsey.
It was a busy start to the off-season and once the dust had settled on Saturday night, it appeared as though everything would finally be relatively quiet. Then Maple Leafs general manager, Lou Lamoriello, shook everyone up by snagging an unclaimed free agent in Patrick Marleau. The 37-year-old winger was reportedly close to returning to his San Jose squad, but was swayed by the allure of playing in the "centre of the hockey universe".
Marleau comes to the young Buds after playing his entire 19-year career with the Sharks. The aging star signed a three-year contract with Toronto that will net him an average of $6.25 million per season. Leafs brass heavily front-loaded the deal and fans seem sure that the team will be able to finesse the cap hit from becoming a real issue later down the line. Despite the arguable overpayment, Marleau seems to be rather spry for his age, and has a nice ironman streak that dates back to the 2009 season. He also still has quite the scoring touch, finishing last year with 27 regular season goals.
Barring a trade, you can expect Marleau to suit up on the first line with 19-year-old phenom, Auston Matthews. The move also reunites the Saskatchewan native with Leafs boss Mike Babcock, who coached Marleau to two Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014 respectively.