Patrick Marleau’s tenure in Toronto may be a blip on the radar when considering the totality of his career, but he still received a warm welcome from the Maple Leafs upon returning Friday.
Marleau spent the first 19 seasons of his career with the San Jose Sharks, joined the Maple Leafs for two seasons, was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, subsequently bought out, and then rejoined the Sharks on a one-year deal on Oct. 9.
It was a special occasion for a host of reasons as Friday’s contest doubled as Marleau’s 1,500th game with the Sharks organization.
During a television timeout in the first period, the Maple Leafs held a tribute for Marleau, where he received a standing ovation from those in attendance at Scotiabank Arena.
Thank you Patrick, for everything you did for our Leafs Nation family, and making us a part of yours. pic.twitter.com/c8R7j42g2d— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 25, 2019
Marleau was often gently referred to as the Maple Leafs’ team dad, hosting Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner frequently at his home during their time together. Matthews and Marner certainly benefited from Marleau’s mentorship and formed close bonds with the veteran’s young children, playing mini-sticks in the basement.
In his final season with the Maple Leafs, Marleau posted 16 goals and 37 points. Marleau notably did not miss a game during his two seasons in Toronto.
More NHL coverage from Yahoo Sports