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Marleau Lands With Maple Leafs

Joe Thornton is returning to the Sharks. Patrick Marleau, as he signed a three-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs Sunday. At age 37, the length of the contract is a bit surprising. But so is the amount of money, as the contract is for $6.25 million per year.

The Leafs were rumored to be interested in Marleau. But few people took it too seriously, as it is the team’s defense that is the biggest concern. With young stars Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander to go with a few veterans offense wasn’t seen as a need. But the Maple Leafs brass had other ideas.

Marleau can still score a bit, but is averaging just over 50 points the last three years. Not a great signing, but one that won’t hurt the team and provides another veteran presence.

With Marleau off the market, that leaves Alexander Radulov, Jaromir Jagr, Thomas Vanek, Andrei Markov and Cody Franson as the top remaining players. Perhaps somebody will make an offer to Nail Yakupov or P.A. Parenteau.

Radulov already left the NHL once for Russia. That could be enough to scare a few teams off. He also wants to be paid quite well. But for a team that needs some offense he is the best remaining player.

Markov is another who wants to be paid well. He’s asking for a two-year deal worth $6 million per season. He isn’t the player he was eight years ago. But he’s still a solid defender who can help generate some offense. Those types tend to get paid as Saturday showed.

Franson doesn’t score a lot. But he’s solid in his own end and can help a lot of teams. Seeing him not signed yet is a bit of a surprise. The guys is big and can skate pretty well for his size.

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