It was San Jose or bust for Patrick Marleau.
The Sharks icon, who officially signed a one-year, $700,000 deal Wednesday, was intent on a reunion in the Bay Area all along, according to his agent Pat Brisson.
"Carolina had interest in Patrick for him to be part of the team this season, however, Patrick wanted to be a Shark at all costs. He will retire as a Shark," Brisson said in an email to Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News. "At that point, I started communicating with (Sharks general manager) Doug Wilson on a regular basis in order to try making it work."
Marleau was traded from the Maple Leafs to the Hurricanes in June and then bought out by Carolina days later. While Marleau was seeking a return home, the Leafs were intent on getting rid of his $6.25-million cap hit. Would he have stayed in Toronto if it weren't for the club's cap crunch?
"We'll never know," Marleau said with a smile.
For a while, it seemed as though a reunion with the Sharks wasn't going to be in the cards.
On Sept. 4, Brisson said there was no fit between the Sharks and Marleau and that he'd pursue other opportunities for his client. The Sharks were intent on giving some younger players a long look in training camp.
"The Sharks have made promises and commitments to their young players as part of their development," Brisson wrote to Pashelka. "If they were to look at bringing a veteran player, obviously Patrick was going to be Doug’s choice all along."
For Marleau, who rented ice in the Bay Area on his own dime to stay in shape, the uncertainty wasn't easy.
"It was a really … difficult situation," he said. "There were a lot of ups and downs. I'll leave it at that."
Marleau, who had two goals in his season debut Thursday while playing on the Sharks' top line, will play his first home game in teal this season Sunday night against the Calgary Flames.