San Jose is the only city Patrick Marleau
has ever called home as a professional hockey player – and he's keeping it that way.
The longest-tenured member of the franchise is staying put, as Marleau agreed to a new four-year contract with the club on Thursday. Marleau, who reportedly will be paid $6.9 million per season, led the Sharks with 44 goals in 2009-10 as San Jose finished atop the Western Conference with 113 points.
Now that he's armed with a new deal, Marleau has only one item left on his agenda – winning a Stanley Cup.
"I'm very happy to be coming back to San Jose," Marleau told reporters during a conference call on Thursday afternoon. "I love living here, love playing here. My top priority is winning, and I feel I have the best chance of winning here in San Jose. I've been here for a while now. I'd like to see things through and win a Cup here."
Center Joe Pavelski
, who represented Team USA at the Olympic Games before leading San Jose with 9 goals and 17 points in 15 playoff games, also agreed to a four-year deal. Pavelski, 25, would have become a restricted free agent on July 1. He had 25 goals and 26 assists in 67 regular-season games. Published reports indicate Pavelski will be paid $4 million per season.
"It's something that came pretty easy," Pavelski said of his new deal. "I've seen enough players come in and you've heard them talk about how great this organization's ran. It's definitely a place where we want to be years and four years, we're pretty excited about that."
Marleau also competed at the Olympics and helped Team Canada win a gold medal. A 12-year-pro (all with the Sharks), Marleau leads the franchise in games played (953), goals (320), assists (373), points (693), power-play goals (97), game-winning goals (57) and shots (2,194). He had 13 points (8 goals, 5 assists) in 14 playoff games for the Sharks, who were swept by the Chicago Blackhawks
in the Western Conference Finals.
Marleau, 30, would have become an unrestricted free agent next Thursday.
"They want to be here," Sharks GM Doug Wilson said during a conference call. "They're the type of players that are just coming into their prime and elite-level players in this League. To have it done prior to next week is important because we're trying to get some other things done."
"History has shown that the marketplace would have been very friendly and kind to these two players," Wilson said. "It's also rare that these type of players would be available. They both stepped it up this year. I can't say how much we truly appreciate them making this statement. This is where they want to be and they believe in where we're going."
San Jose will be going in a different direction this summer between the pipes. The organization recently cut ties with goaltender Evgeni Nabokov
, who had been with the Sharks since the 1999-2000 season. Obviously, Wilson will be in search of a new No. 1 goalie when the market opens next week as Nabokov is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Options for San Jose on the market range from Marty Turco
to Chris Mason
to Jose Theodore
, as well as a few others. Or, Wilson could try the trade route.
"Every year there's changes," Pavelski said. "Obviously, Nabby has been the backstop back there for quite some time now. It's tough to see Nabby leave the team and what he's meant to the team. I think everyone has a lot of respect for what Nabby's done. He's going to be missed. But we have to move forward."
"You can't really say enough about Nabby," Marleau said. "Me and him came in together at the same time and he played some great hockey for this organization. What a great teammate and person. He'll have success wherever he goes."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL