37-Year-Old Left Wing – San Jose Sharks
Patrick Marleau Contract Information:
Agreed to a three-year, $20 million contract with the Sharks in January of 2014.
Marleau was powering through a broken thumb at the end of the year, Kevin Kurz of NBC Sports California reports.
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Patrick Marleau: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
The longest-tenured Shark, Marleau's been in San Jose since Bill Clinton was president, and with a contract that runs through the 2016-17 season, he might very well still be wearing the sweater when the next president comes into office. However, Marleau saw a major downturn in his age-35 season. Usually good for 30 goals year in and year out, Marleau saw his scoring output drop to just 19 while his assist total remained stable. To be fair, there's some bad luck involved here, considering he still shot the puck plenty, but posted the first single-digit shooting percentage of his career. He's not a star anymore, but Marleau should see his goal-scoring bounce back some and remain productive into his late 30s.
This 16-year veteran may be the center of controversy in the Sharks' much-criticized rebuild, but he's far from being over the hill. Marleau finished last season with 33 goals and 37 assists while suiting up for all 82 games, the fifth consecutive campaign in which he’s played every game. He has a lot left in the proverbial tank and remains an elite talent. So, no matter what trade rumors fly around, Marleau is going to be a productive member of any team. He is going to get top minutes and will produce even with the Sharks focusing on getting their younger players some more opportunities. You can't cage a player like Marleau. Don't buy tales of his decline or reduced role. Grab him early.
Marleau isn't going to electrify and wow you the way Logan Couture will, but it'd be hard to say that Pattie isn't a consistent offensive player. He has averaged 0.78 goals per game over the last 13 seasons and 0.88 goals per game over the last eight. However, there was an issue last season that we really want to monitor. Yes, his overall numbers were just a bit lower than his usual average (31 points in 48 games for 0.65 points per game) and you could just write that off as being related to the short season. But after tallying nine goals and 14 points on a six-game streak to start the year, he turned into Rip Van Winkle and delivered just 17 points in the remaining 42 contests. Yes, you read that right. Is this 15-season veteran seriously slowing down or was there an underlying injury that was never really discussed? He's only 33, so you should expect that he has a few more solid seasons in the tank. But watch for the streaks and be ready to leverage a trade and fast if he shows the same signs of slumber as he did last year.
Patty, Patty, Patty -- oh, how you tease us, each and every year. He has all the tools -- electric shot, drag-racer speed, elite hand-eye coordination -- but somehow, he seems to disappoint. It's probably because he plays without much emotion at all -- his calm is mistaken for coma. And his passivity can be painful when he decides to slip his game into neutral. What's that old saying -- he's an enigma wrapped up in a riddle? But at the end of every season -- at least five of the last seven -- he tops the 70-point plateau. He's tallied at least 30 goals in six of his last seven seasons. Week-to-week, he's tough to predict. but, if you're patient over the course of the whole season, Marleau will definitely reward you.
Last season the inscrutable Marleau reached the 1,000 games milestone at the age of 31. His entire 13-year NHL career has been spent exclusively with the Sharks, and the veteran has 766 points (357 G, 409 A) with three All-Star appearances to boot. But it hasn't always been smooth sailing for Marleau in the Bay Area, as he lost his captaincy following the 2008-09 season, and seems to have developed a habit of testing the nerves of Sharks fans with inconsistent play in the postseason. For example, in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, Marleau was held without a point for the first six games of the Western Conference semifinal series against the Red Wings before silencing some critics with the game-winning goal in Game 7. His next series? Eight points in six games against the Canucks, cracking the box score in each contest. Everything considered, Marleau is a very good fantasy option if you can look past his enigmatic ways.
Facing more criticism than usual, Marleau kicked his game into gear last season by posting 44 goals and 39 assists while sharing a line with newcomer teammate, Dany Heatley. You see, Marleau lets his puck-work do the talking when the going gets tough. To that end, the Sharks responded by handing Marleau a four-year, $27.6 million contract extension in June. Even though he won't be as discounted compared to previous years, it could serve you well to employ Marleau in all fantasy leagues given the firepower around him.
While there is no denying Marleau's ability to produce gaudy statistics, there have been plenty of reasons to question his leadership. Early in the offseason, Marleau offered to give up his captaincy, and eventually, he did just that. Perhaps shedding the label of captain will take some pressure off him, but regardless of how that turns out, he remains a quality option for fantasy players needing a center. In 11 years skating for the Sharks, Marleau has never posted fewer than 32 points. His best season came back in 2005-06, when he tallied 86 points (34G, 52A) in 82 games. Love him or hate him, Marleau is both a scorer and provider of assists, which simply equates to success in the fantasy world.
A popular thought in sports is that a short-term memory is an athlete's best friend, so let's hope this is the case for Marleau after he was an uncharacteristic -19 in the plus/minus category. We know the captain is capable of much more than the meager 48 points that he posted in 2007-08, so expect him to hang around the low 70's plateau in total points. Certainly, he will enjoy the switch from defense-minded Ron Wilson, to new boss and offensive guru, Todd McLellan.
The addition of Joe Thornton to the lineup has aided the "best player that nobody talks about", as they are constant fixtures together on the power play. Indirectly, Marleau benefits from not having to face the opponent's top defenders on every shift. Based on his scoring average if Marleau had played in all 82 games he would have finished with 83 points. In addition he took a significantly less amount of shots in the 2006-07 season, 80 less than last season. As well as he played a significant amount of the season hurt. Assuming he stays healthy, he could be looking at a career year. It's still possible that he'll be traded, as he has been linked to just about every team each of these past two offseasons.
Okay, maybe he’ll never be a truly dominant NHL centerman, a Hart Trophy candidate or scoring champ. That’s fine. He still had a breakthrough year that not many saw last season, given the buzz generated by Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Accept Marleau as a very good second center, someone who’s capable of scoring 70-90 points over the next 4-5 seasons. When he’s in the mood, he can dominate a game with his size and speed.
Catch him on the right night and you wonder why he's not a superstar, which is the player the Sharks expected when they spent the No. 2 overall pick on Marleau back in 1997. Alas, the speedy center seems destined to be more fantasy tease than fantasy payoff, in part because of his concentration lapses, and in Ron Wilson's system, defensive responsibilities are always going to be the first area of emphasis. Until Marleau can at minimum break through the 60-point level, we're not going to let his pedigree affect our judgment at the draft table.