The San Jose Sharks signed captain Patrick Marleau to a $12.6 million US, two-year contract extension Friday.
The deal goes into effect at the start of the 2008-09 NHL campaign.
'Patrick understands what we are trying to do, where we've been and where we're going. — Sharks GM Doug Wilson
The veteran forward, who has served as team captain since the 2003-04 season, will earn $4.5 million US in the upcoming season, the final year of his current contract. He will then make $6.3 million each of the next two years.
Marleau, 27, was thought to be on the trading block when negotiations over his contract extension stretched through the summer but the two sides were able to come to terms, ensuring the native of Aneroid, Sask., remains in San Jose for another three seasons.
"We are pleased to get this done with Patty," said San Jose general manager Doug Wilson. "It will allow the focus during the season to be on hockey, which is very important."
Wilson also expressed appreciation that Marleau made a commitment to the club by signing on for another two years.
"Patrick understands what we are trying to do, where we've been and where we're going," Wilson said. "He appreciates what our goals are and where we need to go. That is very important. Patrick is among the game's top forwards and his stats speak for themselves."
"It's always nice to get [contract negotiations] out of the way," Marleau added.
Marleau scored 32 goals and tallied 78 points for the Sharks last season. He also became the Sharks franchise leader in career points (491), goals (219) and assists (272) last year, surpassing former captain Owen Nolan in all three categories.
Four top scorers have signed new contracts
Selected in the first round (second overall) by the Sharks in the 1997 NHL draft, he has helped turn the Sharks from a league doormat into perennial Stanley Cup contenders.
San Jose's four leading scorers from 2006-07 have all signed long-term contracts with the club, some with time still left on their previous contracts: Joe Thornton (four years), Marleau (three years), Jonathan Cheechoo (four years) and Milan Michalek (seven years).
The Sharks' ability to lock up key players such as Thornton, Cheechoo and Michalek played a role in Marleau deciding to extend his contract.
"It's huge," he said. "Obviously, part of the decision to stay was Cheechoo and Thornton being locked in. And Milan, too. To have those guys is a great start already."