Patrick Marleau is a Toronto Maple Leaf

July 1 is Canada Day, when our neighbor to the north celebrates its existence. It is also crazy money free agent day in the NHL, when unrestricted free agents have their contracts expire and teams can fight each other for the right to back up a truck of money to a player’s porch to get them to come play for them. This year the Sharks had two significant free agents: Patrick Marleau, who’s played every game in his 19 year career with the Sharks, and Joe Thornton, who was traded to the Sharks by Boston and has become the team’s legitimate franchise player and future Hall of Famer. When the dust settled, the Sharks were able to re-sign Joe Thornton for one year, but Patrick Marleau took a three year deal and is now a Toronto Maple Leaf. This is the end of an era with San Jose, and let me say this up front: Thornton is a no-brainer hall of fame player and possibly a first ballot; Patrick Marleau will some day have his jersey retired to the rafters in San Jose, should be a Hall of Fame, but I’m not convinced given the talent in the league that he’ll get that recognition. Two other significant Sharks deals got done, with Marc-Eduoard Vlasic and Martin Jones signed up to long-term deals. My take on these deals: they’re all...

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