Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Patrick Marleau retires after 23-season NHL career

marleau retires sharks

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 08: Patrick Marleau #12 of the San Jose Sharks takes the ice for warmups against the Arizona Coyotes at SAP Center on May 8, 2021 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Patrick Marleau has announced his retirement from the NHL after 23 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Drafted second overall by the Sharks in 1997 (right after the still-active Joe Thornton), Marleau immediately entered the league and would spend his first 19 NHL seasons in San Jose. After playing two seasons in Toronto, he re-signed with the Sharks in 2019 before being dealt to the Penguins at the 2020 trade deadline.

After an unsuccessful chase for the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh in 2020, Marleau played his final season in 2020-21 with the Sharks.

From his letter on The Players’ Tribune:

It’s bittersweet for sure, but I have so much to look forward to. Who knows what the world has in store for me. If you would have told that kid on the frozen pond that he would break a games-played record held by none other than Gordie Howe, he would have thought you were crazy. It was never something I aimed for; it was just me loving this game so much that I never, ever wanted to hang up my skates. I am beyond lucky to have had the career I had, but I did not get here by myself.

As he wraps up his career, Marleau will have his No. 12 retired at some point in the future by the Sharks. He leaves as the franchise’s lead in goals, points, even strength goals, power play goals, shots, and games played. Between April 9, 2009 and May 12, 2021, he played 910 straight games, becoming only the fourth player in NHL history to reach the 900-consecutive games played mark.

[‘A remarkable talent:' Marleau breaks NHL games played record]

Marleau’s NHL ironman streak is now fifth all-time with Keith Yandle and Phil Kessel passing him this season.

On April 19, 2021, Marleau broke Gordie Howe’s NHL record for NHL games played by suiting up for his 1,768th regular season game. He would finish with 1,779. Thornton (1,714) and Zdeno Chara (1,680) are the closest active players.

Marleau ends his NHL career with 566 goals and 1,197 points. He represented Canada on the international level and was part of teams that won two Olympic gold medals, gold and silver at the IIHF World Championship, and gold at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

“I want to be looked upon when I’m gone that I gave it my all,” Marleau said in 2021. “Enjoyed the game, loved the game, loved being around the team, loved winning games. Those are the biggest things.”


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.