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NHL Free Agency 2017: Marleau pens note thanking Sharks fans

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We’re not crying, YOU’RE crying.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Marleau, the longest-tenured and highest-scoring player in franchise history, will not play for the San Jose Sharks this season after he signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. The 37-year-old thanked the Sharks and their fans in a noted posted on his wife Christina Marleau’s Twitter page.

"Patrick has been a pillar of this franchise since he was drafted as a 17-year-old in 1997, and has become one of the elite players in our team's history," said Wilson. "He owns nearly every offensive record in Sharks history, scored some big goals for our team and helped shape San Jose into a true hockey city. While we were hoping he would choose to return to San Jose, we wish him the absolute best and want to thank Patrick, his wife Christina, and their children Landon, Brody, Jagger and Caleb for their time in San Jose, a place he has called home for nearly two decades."

Sharks fans will not have to wait long for the chance to return the favor. Marleau’s Maple Leafs will play the Sharks at SAP Center on October 30 in his first trip to San Jose as an opponent.

Drafted second overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Marleau played 1493 regular season games and another 177 in the postseason. He scored 508 goals, including the third four-goal game in franchise history on January 23, and 1082 points in the regular season. Marleau scored an additional 120 in 177 playoff games with the Sharks.

UPDATE (7:31 PM PST): San Jose Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson also released a statement, thanking Marleau for his time in San Jose:

"Patrick has been a pillar of this franchise since he was drafted as a 17-year-old in 1997, and has become one of the elite players in our team's history," said Wilson. "He owns nearly every offensive record in Sharks history, scored some big goals for our team and helped shape San Jose into a true hockey city. While we were hoping he would choose to return to San Jose, we wish him the absolute best and want to thank Patrick, his wife Christina, and their children Landon, Brody, Jagger and Caleb for their time in San Jose, a place he has called home for nearly two decades."