Patrick Marleau wants to talk to the San Jose Sharks, but he'll be polite and let them finish the conversations they're already having.
The former Shark was bought out of his contract by the Carolina Hurricanes this week, and there's only one team he wants to join. He's made that clear for the last few weeks.
"Yeah, it would be nice to come back here [to San Jose] and play where I started," Marleau told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. "It would be a good fit for me for sure.''
Marleau spent the first 19 seasons of his NHL career in San Jose. After two years with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the 39-year-old is ready to come back to the Bay Area, as he wants to be close to his wife and kids.
But at this stage in his career, Marleau knows he's not the Sharks' top priority. He's well aware they have much more important things to figure out. Captain Joe Pavelski might be on his way out the door. Timo Meier, Joonas Donskoi and Kevin Labanc, among others, need new contracts. Marleau will have to wait until the Sharks settle all of that before they can even think about adding him back to their roster.
"It might take a bit longer, I'm not sure," Marleau told LeBrun. "I know they have some things that they're juggling around. We'll see how it goes.''
If the dust settles and the Sharks don't have the salary-cap space or a roster spot for Marleau, he admits that he's open to finding another on the West Coast.
"You never know how things are going to play out," Marleau said. "But obviously to be close to here would be beneficial for my family."
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One thing is for sure: After 21 seasons in the NHL, Marleau isn't considering hanging up his skates. Not even close.
"I'm definitely not ready to retire. I think I've got some really good hockey left in me," Marleau said. "I couldn't give you an exact number of years, but it's going to be more than one, I know that.''