Patrick Marleau is not on an NHL roster, but he'll reportedly keep trying to get on one.
Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reported Saturday on "Hockey Night in Canada" that the veteran center continues to prepare for the season, and there is "some confidence in [Marleau's] camp" that the former Shark "will indeed find his way back to the NHL."
"[Part of the reason I think he didn't end up with a team to this point is he's being selective about where he goes," Johnston said. "Wants to stay close to home with his family back in San Jose, and he was focused on the Sharks in July, and ultimately they chose to go another direction. But he remains confident that he's gonna get another job this season."
Marleau, who has played more games and scored more points as a Shark than any other player in franchise history, was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes this offseason in a salary dump by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Hurricanes bought out Marleau after they couldn't convince him to play for the team, and the 40-year-old has been a free agent since.
While Marleau said he thought a return to the Sharks would be a "good fit," San Jose general manager Doug Wilson told The Athletic's Kevin Kurz that the team would give its young forwards an opportunity to earn roster spots in training camp. The Sharks opened the season with 21-year-old Lean Bergmann, 22-year-old Danil Yurtaikin and 23-year-old Dylan Gambrell in their lineup in Wednesday's season opener.
Marleau scored just 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists) in 2019-20, by far his lowest total in an 82-game season. He also scored on just 9.9 percent of his shots, the second-lowest conversion rate of his career.
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Marleau is not the player he once was, but his experience and durability -- he has not missed a regular-season game since the 2008-09 season -- should end up appealing to some team. Whether or not it's one close enough to Marleau's family, however, remains to be seen. The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks have ample salary-cap space, but both SoCal teams are embracing a youth movement up front. The Vegas Golden Knights just out-scored the Sharks 9-2 across two games and also are up against the salary cap, as are the Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks.
If he's focused on the Sharks' closest geographic rivals, Marleau's waiting game might continue.