The Sharks announced today the 2 year extension for the teams most senior player. Patrick Marleau has been with the franchise for over 10 years ... he has set the clubs records in Goals, Points, Assists and Games played. Patty was 18 years old when he was drafted as a rookie in 97/98 and has been with the team since. After months of negotiations and public speculation on his future, he finalized a deal two weeks before training camp opens to stay with the club. Patrick has played more games in teal than anyone, and he was relieved to head into camp with his future resolved.
"I put a lot of thought into it, but what it came down to is I've been here the longest, I'm the last guy standing. I've come up with the team, and now that we've got what I think is a Stanley Cup-calibre team, I thought it wouldn't be the best time to leave. It was important to me to stay with the team, to stay in the Bay Area." Marleau said in a phone interview
Marleau's new deal will pay him $6.3 million each season, a healthy raise for the Sharks' second-line centre. Thornton, the Sharks' top-line centre and the league's second-leading scorer, will average $7.2 million per year in his three-year extension, which also begins in 2008.
This looks like the final move from Doug Wilson who has been busy courting Thornton, Michalek and Rivet this off season ...
"A group of our guys understand we're coming in to the prime of where our team is at, it's an exciting time for us, for this number of players to step up and want to be a part of it. I think they sense there's something good in place. He's got that balance. He understands that there's nobody bigger than the game, and nobody bigger than the team. The relationships that players have with fans are based on that premise. He gives back, and he's very involved in the community.”
When asked about the rumors that have surrounded Patrick for the past couple months Doug said “You learn from listening and taking all these calls, but there really was only one priority, and that was to re-sign Patrick. Did teams call as recently as the last couple of days? Yes, they did, but the response was always that we're trying to re-sign Patty.”
We will have to wait all season to see if Patrick will show up to next years playoff games - just a short 3 months ago Doug Wilson was singing a different tune criticizing Patrick for his weak showing in the playoffs leading up to their enormous choke against Detroit.