Patrick Marleau shocked Sharks fans in the summer of 2017, when he opted to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent.
This summer, though, the team’s cap crunch — thanks to too many good young players and not enough cap space — left them dealing him out to get bought out. And although he’s been practicing with the San Jose skaters back in Cali during informal ice sessions, an exclusive today confirmed that he’s not getting his Shark fins back on the ice.
The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz broke the news that Marleau won’t be heading back to San Jose for the upcoming season, leaving him one of the handful of free agents still looking for a deal as the season fast approaches. And while it’s obvious that his retirement will end with honor in the Bay Area — he could even eventually hang them up a la Cam Ward, with a one-day contract to retire a Shark — it leaves him with some questions in September. [The Athletic]
A little bit of Avalanche news as A.J. Greer had his court date yesterday. Nothing was resolved as both Greer and Columbus prospect Sonny Milano pled not guilty. Both are allowed to travel for hockey and will not be required to be at the next court hearing in mid-October.
#CBJ F Sonny Milano and #Avs F A.J. Greer had a court date today in NYC for alleged assault in July at a Manhattan apartment.— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) September 4, 2019
Case continued. Each released on their own recognizance.
Next court date, Oct. 16. Each charged w/2 Class A & 1 Class B misdemeanors for assault
In other big Pacific Division news, the Arizona Coyotes decided that the spectre of the RFA hold-out was more than they wanted to contend with when it came to promising — but inconsistent — young forward Clayton Keller. So with one year left on his entry-level contract, the team inked their 21-year-old 2016 first round pick to an eight year, $57.2 million dollar contract that will set his cap hit at $7.15 million until the end of the 2027-28 season.
That deal theoretically doesn’t look good for the teams that are still in tough negotiation’s with this summer’s crop of RFA hold-outs, many of whom had much better production last season than Keller’s 47-point campaign. But in reality, it looks like such a potentially risky move for Arizona — banking on Keller returning to his 65-point rookie year form, rather than staying in the sub-50 point range — and likely won’t have much to do with things for the teams that are in a position to compare their own RFA’s to players that have outproduced them. For teams like Colorado, the Keller deal is similar to the Aho deal; it gives a bit more league-wide context, but doesn’t exactly give anyone much leverage.
Before he made his way up to Denver for Avalanche rookie camp, 2019 fifth round pick Sasha Mutala was at the training camp for his WHL team, the Tri-City Americans. After a tumultuous start to his junior career, the 18-year old looks to take a big jump in his development this season and it sounds as though ha is ready for the challenge:
If you’re hungry for some more Avalanche content, there hasn’t been a ton lately — but the incredible Mile High Hockey crew have prepared a nice pre-training camp roundtable for everyone to peruse. [MHH]
If you’re an NCAA hockey fan, by the way, Nayan Patel is a must-follow this year:
Introducing my NCAA D1 skater charts! I’ll be making these for every season I have the data, as well as updating it throughout the upcoming season.— Nayan Patel (@scootszn99) September 4, 2019
2018-19 charts here: https://t.co/SwR1OucsxK pic.twitter.com/FQ9krldnaW
Finally, Pierre McGuire is out as the between-the-bench analyst for the top broadcast team on NBC this year:
Per impeccable source, Pierre McGuire has been removed from NBC Sports' No. 1 hockey team, to be replaced by Brian Boucher.— Rick Carpiniello (@RickCarpiniello) September 4, 2019