Carolina Hurricanes

Hurricanes to buy out Patrick Marleau, opening door for Sharks return

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Hurricanes to buy out Patrick Marleau, opening door for Sharks return

The next step toward Patrick Marleau's potential return to the Sharks has been taken. 

On Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded the veteran winger to the Carolina Hurricanes in a salary-cap dump. While early reports stated the 'Canes would try to convince Marleau to play for them, the veteran winger's desire to return to San Jose has been well-documented. 

Any attempt to convince Marleau to play in Carolina apparently fell on deaf ears, as general manager Don Waddell announced Thursday that the Hurricanes would be buying out the 39-year-old. 

Marleau is coming off a season where he tallied 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists), his lowest full-season total since his rookie year. He notched 31 points in the 2012-13 season, but only played in 48 games due to the NHL strike. 

[RELATED: Report: Pavelski meets with Stars; Lightning next]

The Sharks have a lot of decisions ahead of them this offseason, with Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi and Gustav Nyquist all hitting unrestricted free agency.

Marleau likely will be on the Sharks' backburner for now, but don't be surprised to see him wearing teal next season.

Why former Sharks star Patrick Marleau wants to return to California

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Why former Sharks star Patrick Marleau wants to return to California

Patrick Marleau spent the first 19 years of his NHL career with the San Jose Sharks. He arrived at 19 years old and left at 37.

Now it sounds like he wants to come back.

The Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday traded 39-year-old Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes, along with a conditional 2020 first-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round selection, for a 2020 sixth-round choice. But this easily could be a salary dump, as the former Sharks star wishes to be back in San Jose.

Marleau, who still had one year left on his Leafs contract, put his Toronto home on the market earlier this month for more than $11 million, TSN reported. His wife and four sons were on their way back to California, and that's exactly why Canadian-born Marleau wants to be back on the West Coast.

"Everything is based on that -- family," Marleau said in an interview with NHL.com's Mike Zeisberger that ran Monday. "I wanted to kind of be with them. Our one son, it's based on his schooling and what was best for him. It was at the point where my wife and kids were planning on coming back [to California] already. It kind of ties it all together. Hard to explain it all.

"Basically, for the kids' schooling and stuff, we thought we could get the help and support we needed here. With four boys, it's a little bit easier here with family around for my wife."

The Hurricanes could buy out the final year of Marleau's contract, making him a free agent and helping his hopes of being closer to his family in the Bay Area. That's out of his hands, however.

"We'll see what happens," Marleau said. "I'll leave that to my representatives and the Hurricanes to discuss."

Marleau played in all 82 games for the Leafs last season, but it certainly was a down year for the three-time All-Star. His 16 goals were his fewest since his rookie year, as were his 37 points -- outside of the strike-shortened 2012 season.

Despite turning 40, Marleau believes he still has plenty left in his tank. 

[RELATED: Here's why Marleau reunion doesn't make sense for Sharks]

"I could see myself playing beyond this next year. I still feel really good, and I still feel I can contribute," Marleau said. "Last year wasn't a very good year by my standards, so I'm looking forward to proving that wrong. That kind of gets the adrenaline going. You have to prove yourself year after year. I look forward to doing that this year."

If that will be at The Tank in San Jose is yet to be determined.

Patrick Marleau traded to Hurricanes; is reunion with Sharks on deck?

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USATSI

Patrick Marleau traded to Hurricanes; is reunion with Sharks on deck?

The first step in Patrick Marleau's potential return to San Jose has been complete.

On Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded the 39-year-old to the Carolina Hurricanes along with a conditional 2020 first-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round pick for a sixth-round pick in 2020.

Can you say salary cap dump?

Marleau, who reportedly wishes to return to the Sharks, might not be in the Metropolitan Division for very long, Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reported Saturday.

The 'Canes, however, reportedly would like to try to convince the veteran forward to play for them before sending him on his way, TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported Saturday.

While it has been reported that the Sharks might have interest in a potential reunion with Marleau, they first must figure out their own free agency situation.

After signing Erik Karlsson to a massive eight-year extension, the futures of Joe Pavelski, Gustav Nyquist, Joonas Donskoi -- all of whom are set to be unrestricted free agents -- still are up in the air. Timo Meier and Kevin LaBanc also are set to be restricted free agents, so the Sharks probably wouldn't commit any assets to Marleau until the dust of free agency has settled.

[RELATED: Report: Donskoi tells Sharks he'll explore free agency]

But it is starting to look like a reunion between the Sharks and Marleau actually is possible.