One of the most important players in franchise history could be returning to the Sharks in free agency.
Patrick Marleau is close to finalizing a deal to return to San Jose for his third stint with the organization, The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta reported on Saturday morning.
Pagnotta reports that the deal likely will be worth around $1 million on a one-year contract.
Marleau began his NHL career with the Sharks as the No. 2 overall pick in 1997, and spent his first 19 seasons in San Jose. After leaving to play two years for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Marleau returned early in the 2019-20 season.
But after the Sharks fell out of contention early in the 2019-20 season, San Jose elected to try and help Marleau try to win his first Stanley Cup, trading him to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a third-round draft pick.
As the franchise's all-time leader in games played, goals and points, Marleau's return to the Sharks unquestionably will be a major boost to the San Jose locker room going into next season.
He no longer is a first-line player, but Marleau finished last season with 11 goals and 11 assists, which was his 22nd consecutive year with double-digit goals. There's no question he at least can be a contributor for this team.
If Joe Thornton also elects to come back and play for the Sharks next season, the team will have two of the NHL's most seasoned veterans on the roster, which only stands to benefit a squad that underperformed last season, but has the talent to be a playoff contender in the Pacific Division.