Hooked On Hockey Magazine

Top 5 San Jose Sharks Players of All-Time

Since the inception of the franchise in 1991, the San Jose Sharks have had some pretty spectacular players dawn the teal, white, and black. Naturally, trying to select only 5 of these players to declare as “the best” was like trying to choose one puppy from an entire litter of adorable fur balls – very, very difficult. Having said that, I apologize in advance for omitting Jonathan Cheechoo from the list; with a name that great, he should have been guaranteed a spot. After much deliberation, I present to you, the top 5 San Jose Sharks players of all-time:

5. Dan Boyle (D)

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

In my mind, Dan Boyle is not-so-arguably the best defenceman in the history of the San Jose Sharks. Throughout his 6 seasons with the club (2008-2014), he played 431 regular season games and registered 269 points (68 goals, 201 assists). Thanks to those impressive numbers, he stands alone atop the pack of all Sharks defencemen in goals, assists, and points – and by a significant margin. He was an integral part of the club’s success, helping lead the team to the playoffs in every season during his tenure. Boyle ranks 4th among all Sharks players in playoff scoring as he racked up a whopping 48 points in 62 playoff appearances. Kind of ridiculous, especially for a defenceman. Although he wasn’t the biggest guy, standing at around 5’11” and 190 pounds, Boyle’s elite hockey sense and unparalleled vision more than compensated for his lack of size. He was the “quarterback” of San Jose’s power play for years, consistently finding ways to set up teammates for prime scoring chances. He also recorded the most power play goals among defencemen in the franchise’s history with 32. His hockey acumen on the ice and calm demeanour off the ice resulted in the Ottawa, Ontario native serving as an assistant captain during his final 4 seasons in San Jose.

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4. Owen Nolan (RW)

(Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Apparently this guy used to be pretty good. Nearly half of Owen Nolan’s 1200 regular season career games were played in a Sharks jersey; the talented right winger spent 8 seasons with the club (1995-2003), appearing in 568 regular season games. During this span, he accumulated 451 of his career total 885 points, potting 206 goals along with 245 assists. To this day, Nolan sits 4th in franchise scoring, 3rd in goals, and 4th in assists. Not too shabby. As the captain of the team from 1998-2003, Owen was the man who put San Jose on the map. He was instrumental in transforming the Sharks into a contending team, leading them to the playoffs in 5 of his 8 seasons. In 2001-2002, San Jose managed a 3rd place finish in the Western conference and a 1st place finish in their division – the highest results the franchise had ever achieved. What made Owen Nolan such an remarkable player was the fact that he didn’t specialize in any one area of the game – he specialized in several. He possessed a lethal combination of speed, skill, and toughness. And boy, he could hit like a freight train. Nolan was a fearless competitor who injected passion and intensity into every game he played. In 2012, he chose to retire a San Jose Shark.

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3. Joe Pavelski (C)

(Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Joe Pavelski has spent his entire 9 season career thus far in San Jose (2006-present). He was drafted by the Sharks in 2003 in the 7th round, 205th overall. THE SEVENTH ROUND. Yeah, let that sink in. Pavelski has laced up the skates for 643 career games (the 5th most games played in Sharks’ history) and has recorded 485 points (228 goals, 257 assists). He currently occupies the 3rd spot within the franchise in points, the 2nd spot in goals, and the 3rd spot in assists. With the exception of his rookie season and the 2012-2013 lockout shortened season, the skilled centerman has tallied at least 40 points every season, including two 70 point campaigns. He also sits 2nd all-time in powerplay goals (83), 2nd in playoff game winning goals (7), and 3rd in playoff points (56 in 81 games). Joe Pavelski has developed into an NHL superstar who’s incredibly exciting to watch – and even to write about! He’s a very shifty player with high-end talent and smarts which has and continues to make him difficult to defend with the puck on his stick. Although smaller in stature (around 5’11” and 190 pounds), Little Joe isn’t afraid to go to the front of the net or to work the cycle along the boards. He’s also very sound defensively in his own zone and is great on the backcheck, as verified by his +76 career rating. He is the epitome of a “coach’s player” – responsible, trustworthy, and versatile. The guy literally does everything: power play, penalty kill, shootout, you name it.

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2. Joe Thornton (C)

(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

From Little Joe to Jumbo Joe we go. Standing at roughly 6’4” and 240 pounds, it was and still is nearly impossible for opposing players to strip Joe Thornton of the puck, particularly along the wall in the offensive zone. The 2015-2016 season will be Thornton’s 11th in San Jose. The Sharks acquired the budding centerman in 2005 from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau, and Brad Stuart. Although it may have seemed like a respectable deal at the time in the mind of Bruins general manager Mike O’Connell (which is still utterly perplexing), that trade will forever go down as one of the worst in the history of the Boston Bruins – and as one of the best in the history of the San Jose Sharks. If there’s one thing hockey fans can agree on, it’s the fact that Jumbo Joe records assists like it’s nobody’s business; in 753 regular season games with San Jose, Thornton has 805 points – 616 of them assists. He’s the franchise leader in regular season assists and in playoff assists (64 in 97 games) by a landslide. As if those stats weren’t convincing enough, Thornton also sits 2nd in points and 4th in goals in the Sharks’ organization. Need I say more? Aside from this past season, Joe has helped the team clinch a playoff berth in every season during his tenure. As a result of leading by example on the ice, Thornton was named the captain of the Sharks in 2010 and proudly wore the “C” until 2014. The 6-time NHL all-star and 2-time Olympian currently sports a +149 rating in his career as a Shark which is almost unfathomable. For years, Jumbo Joe has displayed his supreme athletic ability and has proven that he can be a game changer.

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1. Patrick Marleau (LW)

(B. Bennett/Getty Images)

Patrick Marleau is the quintessence of hockey in San Jose. Drafted 2nd overall in 1997 by the Sharks, Marleau has played in San Jose for all of his 17-year career and is still a member of the team. He’s played 1,329 regular season games and 147 playoff games as a member of the organization, which of course, is way more than any other player. He captained the team from 2003-2009. Are you ready for this? Patrick Marleau is the overwhelming franchise leader in regular season points (988), goals (456), power play goals (142), shorthanded goals (16), playoff points (103), playoff goals (60), playoff power play goals (21), and playoff shorthanded goals (4). Case in point. Not only can he produce, but he’s known for doing so in high-pressure situations: he has 87 regular season game winning goals, 15 playoff game winning goals, 8 regular season overtime goals, and 4 playoff overtime goals. Simply put, the man is clutch. With silky smooth mitts, a seeing-eye shot, and more than enough speed, Patrick has quietly been a beast for this franchise his entire career. During this time, he’s annihilated 15 Sharks records and while still kicking at age 35, is well on his way to setting the bar very, very high in the club’s record books.

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