Marleau plans to return for 24th NHL season, Sharks possible


Patrick Marleau broke the NHL's all-time record for games played in a career this past season, finishing the 2021 campaign with 1,779 appearances. However, the 41-year-old Sharks legend isn't ready to hang up his skates.

“I feel like I still have a lot to give out there, a lot more than what happened this year for myself personally and points-wise,” Marleau said Thursday. “I’m eager to have a really good season and get back to playing the way I’m used to.” 

Marleau finished with just nine points over 56 games, and says he lost sleep this season due to frustration with his performances.

"I had a lot of sleepless nights because of my play, but I think if I learn from it and can apply it to next year I'll be better for it," Marleau told reporters Thursday.

Marleau has yet to win a Stanley Cup in his marathon NHL career, something he emphasized was a priority for him before he retires.

The Sharks finished seventh in the modified Honda West Division with 49 points.

The veteran said he hasn't spoken to management just yet, but isn't ruling out coming back to the franchise that drafted him second overall back in 1997.

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"I haven't been able to sit down with [general manager Doug WIlson] yet, but that's something we'll discuss together," Marleau said.

“There will be time for us to have those conversations,” Wilson said recently (h/t Curtis Pashelka). “We are resetting. Where we’re going — going forward — is predicated on a lot of the younger guys getting the opportunities they’ve got this year.”

Marleau still has one NHL record left to topple, as he stands 54 games behind Doug Jarvis for the most consecutive games played in a career with 910. Depending on where he ends up next season, he'll certainly have a chance to surpass that milestone during the regular season.

"It'd be amazing to see him catch that and break the next record, which is the ironman, because he's done an awesome job of smashing some records this year," Sharks coach Bob Boughner said Thursday.

Marleau's heartfelt response following the record-breaking game in mid-April against the Vegas Golden Knights showed that even as his 23rd year in the NHL neared its conclusion, he still has a deep passion for the game inside his soul.

Whether he comes back to San Jose or joins another club, Marleau's contributions to the organization won't be forgotten by team personnel or the Sharks' fan base. 

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