NHL free agency: Patrick Marleau signs with Maple Leafs; Canadiens give Carey Price extension

What we learned in the NHL in the past week - Sharks hot
Center Patrick Marleau and the San Jose Sharks are coming off the first 6-0 trip in franchise history.
(LM Otero / Associated Press)

Patrick Marleau has left the San Jose Sharks to sign an $18.75-million, three-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs while the Montreal Canadiens have signed goaltender Carey Price to an eight-year contract extension.

The Sharks did retain Joe Thornton, who signed a one-year deal with $8 million.

Marleau will count $6.25 million against the salary cap through the 2019-20 season. Toronto general manager Lou Lamoriello announced the signing Sunday, the second day of NHL free agency.

The 37-year-old was considered one of the top free agents available and had been considering his options. Marleau spent his first 19 seasons with the Sharks. Marleau, the second overall pick in 1997, has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points in 1,493 NHL games. He had 46 points in playing all 82 games last season.


Marleau and Thornton had been tied together as the faces of the Sharks ever since Thornton joined San Jose in November 2005, They teamed to help San Jose make it to the conference finals in 2010 and ‘11 and the Stanley Cup Final in 2016 but couldn’t deliver a championship to San Jose.

Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin announced the deal with Price on Sunday, the second day he was eligible to be extended. Price’s new contract begins in 2018-19 and runs through 2025-26.

Getting Price re-signed was a top priority for Montreal. He won the Hart Trophy as MVP and Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender in 2014-15 when he led the NHL with a 1.96 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.

Price, who turns 30 in August, is 270-175-55 with a 2.40 GAA and .920 save percentage in 509 games over 10 NHL seasons. He bounced back from a knee injury that cost him most of 2015-16 to start 62 games last season, finishing third in the Vezina voting.


In other NHL news:

-- The Ducks signed defenseman Steve Oleksy to a two-year contract and center Derek Grant to a one-year contract. Oleksy played in 11 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season and has 73 games of NHL experience, mostly with the Washington Capitals. Grant has zero goals and seven assists in 86 NHL games with four teams, most recently the Buffalo Sabres and Nashville Predators last season. Both are one-way contracts, meaning the players would have to clear waivers to be re-assigned.

The Ducks also signed left wing Mike Liambas and right wing Scott Sabourin to one-year, two-way contracts.

-- The Washington Capitals have re-signed center Evgeny Kuznetsov to a $62.4 million, eight-year deal. The 25-year-old Russian, who was a restricted free agent, is now the second-highest paid player for Washington behind captain Alex Ovechkin. Kuznetsov’s cap hit surpasses Nicklas Backstrom’s $6.7 million. Kuznetsov had 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 points last season. In 261 NHL games with the Capitals, he has 182 points on 53 goals and 129 assists, and he led the team in points in 2015-16.

-- The Vegas Golden Knights have landed Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger, after all. Two weeks after not selecting Kruger in the NHL expansion draft, Vegas gave up undisclosed future considerations to acquire the two-time Stanley Cup-winner in a trade with the Blackhawks on Sunday. Used primarily as a checking-line forward, Kruger had five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in 70 games last season. Overall, he has 33 goals and 72 assists for 105 points in 398 games over seven seasons.

Kruger’s departure frees up much-needed salary cap space for the Blackhawks a season after signing him to a three-year $9.25 million contract. The Golden Knights opened up cap space to add Kruger a day earlier, when they traded defenseman Alexei Emelin to Nashville.

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