Arizona Coyotes

NHL rumors: Sharks 'don't want' to sign Patrick Marleau; Coyotes do

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AP

NHL rumors: Sharks 'don't want' to sign Patrick Marleau; Coyotes do

Former Sharks captain Patrick Marleau is skating in San Jose, but a reunion reportedly isn't in the cards. 

That's because the "Sharks don't want him," the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons wrote in his Saturday column. 

"Apparently, Arizona does, but Marleau may not want to play there," Simmons wrote. "This [offseason] isn’t turning out the way he hoped it would."

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded Marleau, 39, to the Carolina Hurricanes this summer in order to clear salary-cap space. Marleau, who left the Sharks for the Leafs and signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract with Toronto in 2017, was then bought out days later. Marleau's family moved back to San Jose this summer, and the veteran forward said he wants to play closer to them. He told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun that he considered the Sharks "a good fit," but admitted he would be open to playing elsewhere in the Western Conference. 

In his 21st NHL season, Marleau scored 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists). That represented the lowest total in an 82-game season of Marleau's career since his rookie campaign, even though Leafs coach Mike Babcock played Marleau over 16 minutes per night. The Sharks had plenty of departures up front this summer -- with ex-captain Joe Pavelski chief among them -- but San Jose is primed to use young wingers Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc in bigger roles next season. That doesn't leave much room for Marleau among the top six forwards, and the Sharks have younger prospects knocking on the door who can push for roles on the third and fourth lines. 

[RELATED: Why Sharks should, shouldn't retire Pavelsk's jersey first]

The Coyotes could have room for Marleau, especially once forward Marian Hossa is placed on long-term injured reserve. Arizona only has just shy of $200,000 in salary-cap space according to Cap Friendly, but teams can exceed the salary cap by 10 percent during the summer. The Desert Dogs fought through countless injuries to challenge for a playoff spot, and Marleau would add experience to a forward corps that now features scoring winger Phil Kessel. 

NHL training camps are about a month away, and there might not be a quick resolution for the longest-tenured player in Sharks history with so many restricted free agents -- like Mitch Marner, Marleau's former Toronto teammate -- still unsigned.

NHL free-agency review: How Coyotes stack up in Pacific Division?

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AP

NHL free-agency review: How Coyotes stack up in Pacific Division?

Editor’s note: NHL free agency was fast and furious, and the moves that teams did (and did not) make set the tone for next season. All week, we’ll examine the Sharks’ Pacific Division rivals, and whether their free-agency approach put them in better, worse or the same position. Today, we dive into the Arizona Coyotes.

Typically when a contest against the Arizona Coyotes shows up on the Sharks' schedule, it's viewed as a game the Sharks should win. The Coyotes have, after all, occupied the bottom portion of the Pacific Division standings for a few seasons straight, despite having one or two mid-season hot streaks that make them appear to be a threat.

The Desert Dogs have had an active offseason thus far, making noise with some big signings in an effort to be more competitive next season. But is it enough to leapfrog the other teams in the Pacific who are trying to take the division crown? And how much more can they actually do with just $178,099 left in cap space?

Here's a look at what the Coyotes have done so far in free agency.

Players who signed

As far as the start of free agency went, the Coyotes didn't do much. The biggest news actually came before the market opened on July 1 when Arizona acquired Phil Kessel from the Penguins in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk and Pierre-Olivier Joseph. They also traded Kevin Connauton to the Avalanche for Carl Soderberg.

Kessel may get the bulk of the attention because of his star power and what he can add to Arizona's power play, which was ranked 26th overall in the league last season. But adding Soderberg could pay off even more, due to the fact he can add depth down the middle of the offense and brings the element of speed the Avs' offense has been built on.

Players who left

For as little noise as the Coyotes made as far as signing players at the start of free agency, they certainly saw a few players depart for new teams.

While the loss of goalie Calvin Pickard won't have a lasting effect on the team -- he went 0-4-0 after Arizona acquired him last season -- the loss of center Nick Cousins and winger Richard Panik could leave holes in the Coyotes' offense.

Even with the addition of Kessel and Soderberg, the loss of Cousins, Panik, and Galchenyuk takes away some of the scoring power the Coyotes had last season.

[RELATED: NHL free agency review: Calgary Flames]

Better, worse, or the same?

One week after the market opened, the Coyotes don't appear to be a mounting threat in the Pacific Division. And even though there's still plenty of time to make moves before the end of the summer, Arizona has very little cap space to work with.

Even with the addition of a big player like Phil Kessel, the Coyotes aren't going to become a force for the Sharks to reckon with overnight. 

Patrick Marleau selling Toronto house amid Maple Leafs trade rumors

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USATSI

Patrick Marleau selling Toronto house amid Maple Leafs trade rumors

The possibility of Patrick Marleau playing for a third NHL team next season seems even realer.

The Maple Leafs winger is selling his Toronto home amid rumors the Original Six franchise is seeking to trade the former Sharks captain, the Toronto Star reported Thursday.

The massive six-bedroom, seven-bathroom home is listed at $11.888 million, and includes an in-ground pool and the backyard rink Marleau built for his four sons for Christmas during his first season in Toronto.

After spending the first 19 seasons of his NHL career in San Jose, the No. 2 pick in the 1997 NHL Draft signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract. Marleau developed a close relationship with young Toronto stars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, but the 39-year-old scored the second-fewest points of his career (37) in an 82-game season in 2018-19.

With the Maple Leafs needing salary-cap space in order to re-sign Marner and their pending restricted free agents, Marleau's $6.25 million hit has kept his name in the rumor mill since Toronto was eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in May.

Marleau is owed $4.25 million in salary, $3 million of which comes in a signing bonus paid out in two installments, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported last month. That makes Marleau's deal conceivably movable, but the veteran has a no-movement clause in his contract and would be able to decide his destination.

Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos reported last week that Marleau was willing to waive the clause, and that he wants to play closer to the West Coast with his wife and three children moving back to San Jose.

[RELATED: How Sharks' previous late-round draft picks have proven successful]

The Athletic's James Mirtle wrote Monday that he was told the Anaheim Ducks and Colorado Avalanche weren't interested "at this time," and the Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes would want an additional player or pick in exchange for taking on Marleau's contract. The Leafs can retain up to 50 percent of Marleau's contract in a trade, but an ensuing $3.125 million cap hit still might be too rich for some teams' tastes. 

But with Marleau's home now on the market, it seems like the longest-tenured player in Sharks history will have a new home sooner rather than later.