2017-18 saw Paddy Daddy Marleau donning a non-San Jose Sharks jersey for the first time in his 20-year NHL career. Last summer, Marleau inked a huge 3-year contract with the Leafs at $6.25 million per season. Despite that contract being a massive cap pill to swallow for a player who will turn 39 before next season begins, it’s hard to look back on Marleau’s first season with the blue and white as anything but a success.
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Let’s look at the easy stuff first: at 38 years old, Patrick Marleau seemed to not miss a beat in terms of health and point production. He appeared in all 82 regular season games for the Leafs, coming 4th in goal scoring on a team with three 30+ goal scorers. Not too shabby at all.
The advanced stats can be a little misleading as well. Marleau’s possession numbers and expected goals for appear a little suspect at first, but it should also be considered that Marleau and his linemates were also often tasked with shutting down other teams’ toughest offensive threats night in and night out. As such, a slight dip in possession is to be expected, and Marleau (alongside frequent linemates Nazem Kadri and Mitch Marner) enjoyed a fair deal of success in tough defensive situations.
Marleau frequently slotted in on the left wing for the Leafs, but I’d be remiss not to mention that he also spent a fair deal of time filling in at center when injuries arose and the extra depth was needed. What’s more is that he always looked dominant in the role, despite his understandable reluctance to consistently slot into such a demanding role at his advanced age. At the end of the day, Marleau is a perfect pre-existing injection of depth who can be used in various ways as the need arises, without having to result to call-ups in a position where depth is fairly thin.
Am I giving Patrick Marleau too much credit for doing what a good second-line player should? I don’t think so. As mentioned several times before, the man is 38 friggin’ years old, and continues to prove himself a consistent contributor night in and night out. Will it continue? Who’s to say. But is has continued up until this point, and that’s what we’re grading on.
Arguments can be made about Patrick Marleau’s contract, and those are completely fair and valid given the Leafs’ upcoming cap situation. But the fact remains that as far as Good Pl’rs and Good Pros go, Patrick Marleau has been absolutely that.
Patrick Marleau has registered a goal against every NHL team except for the San Jose Sharks. Marleau was unable to get on the score sheet against the Sharks in either of the Leafs’ two meetings with his former club this season, though he did register a goal against the Vegas Golden Knights on December 31, 2017. Goals against 30 teams isn’t half bad.
Who doesn’t love an OT winner against the Bruins?
This one is from way back in November. After a tying goal by James van Riemsdyk with Andersen on the bench, it was Marleau, Mitch Marner and Jake Gardiner who would connect to seal this win for the Leafs.
Sure, the goal itself wasn’t all that special, but extra points are always given out for the comeback factor. Extra extra points are then given out for the father-son duo of Marner and Marleau that would enjoy success all season long when they were together.
Basically, this is a season highlight because it perfectly embodies the scoring presence that Marleau brings to the Leafs. He’s sneaky, clutch and, after 20 long years in the league, always knows where to be in front of the net.
Looking forward to next season, one can only hope that Marleau’s contract remains in “not a nightmare” territory and that he can somehow keep producing at a similar rate. Skeptics can say that time is probably running out for Marleau’s body, but after keeping it up for this long, we’ll have to wait and see.
One realistic possibility to look out for is whether or not 2018-19 will mark Marleau’s last season in the blue and white. With the signing bonus-heavy nature of his contract, the Leafs would have a fairly easy time dealing Marleau next summer to a team with cap space looking to take on a cheap actual-money player.
Moving forward, look for more beautiful father-son moments between Paddy and his beautiful sons Auston and Mitchell. And, what’s more, the possibility of bearded Paddy Marleau in the regular season under the Kyle Dubas regime.