Patrick Marleau is heading back to the Bay Area and he'll be donning the teal once again.
The San Jose Sharks announced Tuesday that they have reached a one-year deal with the 40-year-old forward for a league-minimum $700,000 this season. As a result, Marleau will reunite with the Sharks, the team that he spent 19 seasons with after they drafted him second overall all the way back in 1997.
Marleau left the club in the summer of 2017, choosing to sign a three-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. As he approached the final year of that deal, he was traded from Toronto to Carolina this summer, then bought out by the Hurricanes. He has spent the past few months mulling his future as an unrestricted free agent.
Marleau had 16 goals and 37 points in 82 games with the Leafs last year. He reportedly drew interest from several clubs after being bought out but was prioritized staying close to his family in San Jose and, preferably, rejoining the Sharks. The team elected to go in a different (read: younger) direction over the summer but Marleau's patience has apparently paid off.
The Sharks have struggled out of the gate and have taken a hit in the depth department, so general manager Doug Wilson has called upon Marleau to help.
It may not have hurt that one of Marleau's oldest teammates and friends, Joe Thornton, campaigned for him earlier this week.
Perhaps Thornton had an idea that the Sharks and Marleau were closing in on a deal, or perhaps Wilson was willing to listen to Thornton's high praise and bring Marleau back for another run.
Either way, it's unlikely that Marleau will be the answer to all the Sharks' issues in the early going, but he likely will provide a little insurance and leadership on the ice and in the room. He'll also likely bring durability and stability to the Sharks' lineup, as he is currently working on an impressive ironman streak of 788 consecutive games played.
At the very least, it's an exciting moment for both the fans and Marleau, who will now most likely get to finish his career where it all started.