Hurricanes to Buy Out Patrick Marleau, Opening Door for Sharks Return

The next step toward Patrick Marleau's potential return to the Sharks has been taken. 

On Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded the veteran winger to the Carolina Hurricanes in a salary-cap dump. While early reports stated the 'Canes would try to convince Marleau to play for them, the veteran winger's desire to return to San Jose has been well-documented. 

Any attempt to convince Marleau to play in Carolina apparently fell on deaf ears, as general manager Don Waddell announced Thursday that the Hurricanes would be buying out the 39-year-old. 

Marleau is coming off a season where he tallied 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists), his lowest full-season total since his rookie year. He notched 31 points in the 2012-13 season, but only played in 48 games due to the NHL strike. 

[RELATED: Report: Pavelski meets with Stars; Lightning next]

The Sharks have a lot of decisions ahead of them this offseason, with Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi and Gustav Nyquist all hitting unrestricted free agency.

Marleau likely will be on the Sharks' backburner for now, but don't be surprised to see him wearing teal next season.

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