Toronto Maple Leafs

Sharks miss out on John Tavares as top free agent signs with Leafs

Sharks miss out on John Tavares as top free agent signs with Leafs

John Tavares chose not to sign with the Sharks at the start of free agency on Sunday, and instead signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tavares and the Leafs agreed to a seven-year, $77 million deal.

Shortly after the news broke, Tavares posted two notes on Twitter.

San Jose was one of six teams, including Toronto, that met with the now-former New York Islanders captain and agent Pat Brisson at CAA headquarters in Los Angeles earlier this week. Owner Hasso Plattner, general manager Doug Wilson, and head coach Peter DeBoer were among the participants that tried to sell the 2009 No. 1 overall pick on coming to the Bay Area. 

The pitch reportedly impressed Tavares, and he was believed to have the Sharks and Maple Leafs atop his list of destinations if he chose not to re-sign with the Islanders, The Athletic's Arthur Staple wrote on Thursday.  Once the deadline for Tavares to sign an eight-year contract extension came and went, however, the Leafs were the apparent frontrunners, Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reported early Sunday morning. 

Last week, Wilson appeared to prepare for the possibility of signing the 27-year-old. San Jose bought out veteran defenseman Paul Martin's contract and traded winger Mikkel Boedker to the Ottawa Senators, clearing nearly $7 million in salary cap space. That gave the Sharks about $19 million to play with headed into free agency, according to CapFriendly. 

Now, the Sharks will have to turn to other options. Wilson told reporters (via The Athletic) before the NHL Draft that San Jose was "positioned really well to be pretty active in adding another piece," but did not rule out sitting on his cap space headed into the season.

Meanwhile, Tavares will play in his hometown, and alongside what is arguably the best core of young players in the NHL, one that includes Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander. He'll also play alongside a face familiar to Sharks fans: Patrick Marleau, who opted not to return to San Jose last summer and signed a three-year, $18.75 million deal with the Maple Leafs. 

Tavares, Marleau, and the Leafs will make their only visit to SAP Center next season on Nov. 15. 

Marleau passes ex-Sharks teammate on all-time scoring list

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AP

Marleau passes ex-Sharks teammate on all-time scoring list

Former Shark Patrick Marleau moved into sole possession of 39th on the NHL's all-time goal-scoring list with his 514th career goal on Wednesday night, passing an ex-teammate and longtime critic in the process. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs forward's second period goal against the Minnesota Wild moved him ahead of fellow former Shark Jeremy Roenick. The two played together in San Jose from 2007-09, and Marleau's drawn significant criticism from Roenick since his retirement. 

The NBCSN analyst has called Marleau, among other things, "gutless," not "one of the locker room favorites," and one of the "five players [he] most hated playing with." He's often criticized Marleau for a perceived lack of effort, and told reporters this offseason that "lulls" in his game "[happen] to Patrick Marleau too much."

There was also tension when the two were teammates, at least according to Roenick. In his memoir, he recounted leaving his family "around Thanksgiving" and showing up to Marleau's house, unannounced. 

"I wanted to inspire him, to let him know that his teammates were behind him. I went there to tell him that I believed he could be one of the league’s very best players if he just altered his game slightly. He needed to play with more of an edge," Roenick wrote in “J.R.: My Life as the Most Outspoken, Fearless and Hard-Hitting Man in Hockey.”

"“I tried to tell him that that night, but I could tell 10 minutes into our conversation that I was wasting my time. He considered my arrival at his house an intrusion. He listened to me, but he never did anything to change the way he was.”

His inclusion in Roenick's book prompted the normally soft-spoken Marleau to respond.

“To say that I don’t care about my play or winning or being gutless is absurd,” Marleau wrote in a text message to David Pollak. “I wouldn’t have left home at 14 years old to play a game I didn’t care about. I want to win more than anyone. Just because I don’t jump up and down acting like a buffoon on the ice doesn’t mean I’m not into it.”

Roenick correctly predicted this offseason that Marleau would leave the Sharks. Marleau signed a three-year, $16.75 million contract with Toronto this summer, and returned to SAP Center for the first time on October 30.

In addition to the regular season, Marleau has scored more postseason goals than Roenick, as well as more game-winning goals in the regular season and playoffs than his former teammate. 
 

Sharks ruin Marleau's return, beat Maple Leafs 3-2

Sharks ruin Marleau's return, beat Maple Leafs 3-2

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Rookie defenseman Tim Heed scored a tiebreaking goal on the power play early in the third period to spoil Patrick Marleau's return to San Jose by leading the Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

Heed scored on a slap shot from just above the faceoff circle with 15:49 to play and assisted on Joe Pavelski's second-period goal to give the Sharks their 10th straight win over Toronto. Joel Ward added an empty-net goal for San Jose.

This time it came with Marleau in a Maple Leafs sweater as he returned to the arena he called home for his first 19 seasons in the NHL. Marleau left as a free agent this summer to sign an $18.75 million, three-year contract with Toronto.

Marleau finished with two shots on goal but didn't record a point as Martin Jones made 16 saves for San Jose to improve to 7-0 against the Maple Leafs. Jones has allowed just 10 goals in those starts.

Auston Matthews scored in the first period and Nazem Kadri added a goal with 1:10 remaining to cut San Jose's lead to 3-2. The Maple Leafs have lost four of five and were held to only two shots on goal in a span of more than 31 minutes in the second and third periods.

Frederik Andersen made 36 saves but had no chance on Heed's slapper that went into the top corner after Timo Meier had drawn a cross-checking penalty from Dominic Moore early in the period.

The night started with an emotional pregame ceremony for Marleau. The Sharks played a video tribute to Marleau and he received a loud ovation that lasted nearly 90 seconds from the fans, who chanted "Pat-ty! Pat-ty!" Players from both teams tapped their sticks in appreciation as the spotlight shined on Marleau and he waved to the crowd.

The Sharks then controlled play for the first two periods but were unable to translate their 25-11 advantage in shots on goal to a lead on the scoreboard.

The Maple Leafs struck first midway through the first period when Matthews beat Logan Couture to the rebound of a point shot from Nikita Zaitsev and knocked it into the open net for his ninth goal.

San Jose tied it midway through the second when Pavelski deflected Heed's point shot past Andersen for his third goal.

NOTES: Thornton got an assist on San Jose's first goal, giving him 1,399 points to move past Jari Kurri for sole possession of 20th place on the career list. ... Toronto forwards James Van Riemsdyk (lower body) and Matt Martin (upper body) returned to the lineup after missing one game each.

UP NEXT:
Maple Leafs: Visit the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.

Sharks: Host the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night.