Patrick Marleau signed a new one-year, $700K contract with the San Jose Sharks last October. It wasn’t necessarily believed that the Sharks would be contenders and Marleau had to know that. Still, it wasn’t believed the Sharks would be as bad as they are. Having left the organization to chase a Stanley Cup ring before, he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2017 and then helped facilitate a trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins at last year’s trade deadline. Could he do something similar again?
Marleau now sits just 15 games behind Gordie Howe’s 1,767 regular season contests. Playing in San Jose gives him the best shot at breaking a record that, for a long time, seemed unbreakable. If he stays injury free, he should be able to surpass the legend for games played but that’s not his primary focus. Winning is and speaking with Kevin Kurz of The Athletic, Marleau explained that he would “seriously consider” another move to a contender if one were to approach the Sharks about him.
Winning a Stanley Cup is still the ultimate goal and it could mean going to a team that doesn’t play him night in and night out. Because the 41-year-old Marleau doesn’t hold trade protection in his contract, he could realistically be moved. That said, he’s not been terribly productive with only one goal and five points in 29 games for the Sharks this season.
Would He Be Risking the Games Played Record?
His age and his production means he’s a potential taxi squad candidate and if so, there’s a chance he might not see 15 games with another hockey club if he’s moved in the next week or so. He’s had a hard time keeping up in games and if he doesn’t hit the record this season, there’s no guarantee he gets another contract next season. If he sticks with the Sharks, he’ll get there should he stay healthy.
If he moves to a Canadian team, he’s unlikely to get the 15 games he needs after sitting out two weeks. Or, if he heads to a U.S.-based team that doesn’t play him much, he may never get another shot at Howe’s record. Most teams have somewhere between 25-28 games left. That means he’d need to play in more than half of the games for a contender to break the record. That’s certainly not a sure thing.
All that said, he seems willing to give that up (or at least take the gamble) if it means getting his name on a Cup.
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