Patrick Marleauer, a 22-year NHL veteran and a two-time Olympic gold medalist with Team Canada, lacks the experience to play some of the best hockey as well.
The Pittsburgh Penguins spent two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and in that short time developed a close relationship with star winger Mitch Marner, whom he highly regarded as an elite talent.
“He surprised me,” Marleau said while attending Hockey Central on Friday. “I just watch him play. The way he skates, the way he sees the ice, the way he makes room for himself and everything that goes into his skating is amazing. “
Shoot questions at Patrick Marleau on Sutter, Couture, Marner and more
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Marleau spent 19 seasons with the San Jose Sharks before signing with Maple Leafs in 2014. He scored 27 goals in his first season in Tor Toronto and took Marner and his teammate Aston Mathews under his wing.
In addition to praising his skill set, Marleau was impressed with the mentality of Marner, who led the team in both seasons at Marleau in Toronto.
“He does it, he does it and you try to replace it and it’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s something he’s been working on all his life,” Marleau said. “Also, the great thing he’s going for on his part is his attitude towards ice, how he handles things.
“He’s kind of like a jumbo (Marley’s former Sharks teammate Joe Thornton) where he can have a great time and then flip that switch. He’s all business with ice. He knows the different moments where he can relax Some may rejoice but he was very passionate and also focused on becoming one of the best players in the league and winning.
“Lots of people can’t see this part because they’re always happy, smiling and looking that way but he’s very focused and very committed.”
Pittsburgh 2021 acquired Marleau in late February for a third-round conditional draft picture, and he qualified for eight games for the Penguins before the NHL’s indefinite break due to Covid-19.
When the Penguins return to hockey, the Montreal Canadiens will play a play-in series and Marleau will want to add to his great playoffs. The 40-year-old has the next 722 career goals, 14th of all time, directly behind Dino Sickerelli, Mario Lemiaux and Jaromi Jagar.