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The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed one of the biggest free agent prizes this summer, inking Patrick Marleau to a 3 year $18.75 million dollar contract.

The #Leafs announced today the signing of F Patrick Marleau to a 3-year contract. The annual average value of the contract is $6.25 million.

— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 2, 2017

The longtime San Jose Shark leaves California for Toronto, Ontario to seek an elusive Stanley Cup.

Yes, that read correctly, a Stanley Cup in Toronto.

The Leafs aggressively pursued the veteran forward as their rebuild was accelerated by their recent playoff appearance. Looking to add more experience, more versatility and more support and skill to help their young kids, the Leafs surprised many making this move. One of the league’s youngest and brightest teams got a bit older and wiser today with Marleau’s acquisition.

Next season will be Marleau’s 20th in the NHL and he’ll be 38 when the season starts.

The age scares many, but his ability is still intact and he can still go at a high level. He had a 27 goal season last year and is still a terrific skater despite his age.

He is a big Mike Babcock favourite as the coach had him for both the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.

With that insider knowledge, no doubt Babcock was highly influential in this signing. He probably pushed both the Leafs and Marleau to get this deal done knowing what he could bring the Leafs and knowing what value Marleau has.

Plus he probably sold Marleau on the opportunity to lead this young group and play with a group of high-end young stars.

This is a coup for Toronto. They’re a team on the rise and had some holes. A player like Marleau fills many. He can play centre or the wing and plays a 200 foot game. How is that not a good thing for the Leafs? It is a big cap hit, but, they are benefitted by being able to put Nathan Horton and Joffrey Lupul on LTIR.

Lupul’s contract comes off the books next season and while they have to in the next 2 years lock up their ‘big 3’, this isn’t much of a setback with it being just 3 years.

The Leafs could afford to do this and it just adds another layer of insulation and insurance to this team bringing in a high-level talent. It’s a good time to be a Leaf fan. They’re filling holes and bringing in big names. This is not David Clarkson or Jason Blake. It’s a little Gary Roberts/Joe Nieuwendyk but that’s not all a bad thing because of age.

This is the Shanaplan coming into place. The team is buoyed by having electric young talent including the latest Calder winner, Auston Matthews. Why not add savvy and smarts to go with still high-end ability?

Marleau joins Ron Hainsey and Dominic Moore as new Leafs next season and it’s still only July 2nd.

There are still moves to be made. Stay tuned!


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