The Starting Six series comes to you to dive into the best player at each position all-time for every organization. The biggest and best at each position, with the most memorable moments in franchise history. Here is the San Jose Sharks all-time lineup.
Starting Six: San Jose Sharks All-Time Lineup
The San Jose Sharks entered the league in 1991. While they may not have such a storied history as some other clubs across the league, there are still a handful of stars who have made their mark inside the shark tank.
With 19 playoff appearances in only 26 seasons and six first place divisional finishes, the Sharks have yet to hoist the Cup. Even without a Cup, this franchise continues to be a threat in the Pacific Division and Western Conference each year. Throughout the past 26 seasons, these players are a major reason why.
Here is the San Jose Sharks all-time lineup:
Center: Joe Thornton (2005 – Present)
Since arriving to San Jose from Boston in 2005, Joe Thornton has made a name for himself as not only a leader on the team, but a star and one of the best centers in the NHL.
In his first season with the Sharks, 2005-06, he won both the Art Ross and Hart Memorial Trophy as the leagues top-scorer and MVP. He ended that season with 125 points, including 29 goals and 96 assists. In 2006-07, he became the third player in NHL history to have back-to-back 90-assist seasons. During the 2011 season, he became the 78th player to reach 1,000 points.
While he has remarkable accolades in comparison to the league as a whole, the records do not stop there. Thornton is currently the Sharks all-time leader in assists and powerplay goals. He has 148 more assists than next in-line, Patrick Marleau, with a total of 722. He also ranks second all-time in games played for the franchise, along with overall points.
This 38-year-old shows no sign of slowing down and with another season as a Shark ahead, these statistics will continue to climb.
Right Wing: Owen Nolan (1995 – 2003)
Today, when people think of the San Jose Sharks, they think of guys like Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski. One name that is sometimes forgotten is Owen Nolan. But, after a quick glance at the record books, it becomes obvious that Nolan had a strong impact on a very young franchise at the time. He is fourth all-time in points with 206 goals and 245 assists.
While San Jose was just a small part of his NHL career, it was some of his most successful seasons as a pro. During the 1999-2000 season, he had a career high 84 points in the form of 44 goals and 40 assists.
Left Wing: Patrick Marleau (1997 – 2017)
After two decades in San Jose, Patrick Marleau may be gone, but he is surely not forgotten. His career stats with the franchise speak for themself. He ranks first among all-time for the Sharks in games played, goals, points, shots, even-strength goals, short-handed goals, powerplay goals, and game-winning goals. He has 1,082 career points, all of which are with the Sharks.
While he may not have been able to bring the Stanley Cup back to San Jose during his time, it is largely because of him the Sharks were in even the conversation. No matter what happens during the remainder of his career, he will be long-remembered as a Shark and his name shall be in the franchise record books for many more years.
Defenseman: Marc-Edouard Vlasic (2006 – Present)
Marc-Edouard Vlasic was drafted by the Sharks in 2005. His presence in the league was immediately felt when he led all rookies in ice time and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team. Since then, he has been a staple and a leader on San Jose’ blue line. He is 3rd, behind Thornton and Marleau, in all-time games played and tied 5th in assists with fellow defensemen Brent Burns and Dan Boyle.
While he may not be in the same conversation as some of the defensive stars around the league, like teammate Brent Burns, his consistent production puts him as one of the leading defensemen for San Jose.
Defenseman: Brent Burns (2011 – Present)
While some may believe this pick is due to recency bias, Brent Burns has had a huge impact in San Jose, both offensively and defensively. He is first in defensemen in terms of shots, assists-per-game, and points-per-game. In the 2015-16 season, he recorded 24 points in 24 postseason games to help the Sharks reach the Stanley Cup Final.
During his time in San Jose, he has played as a forward. But, he is the first defenseman in franchise history to win the Norris Trophy. He won the Norris last season where he also led all defensemen across the league with 29 goals and 76 points.
It’s tough to avoid weighing in his potential in what he can do for this franchise with what he was recently accomplished. But, his value the past couple seasons and fact that he is the only Norris Trophy winner in franchise history puts him in the starting six.
Goalie: Evgeni Nabokov (1999 – 2010)
Evgeni Nabokov has played almost double the amount of games as any other goalie in franchise history with 563. With that he has the most wins, shots against, and saves. Antti Niemi is the only goalie that comes anywhere near Nabokov in these statistics and even then there is a large gap. He is also first overall in shutouts with 50, exactly double than Niemi. To his case, Nabokov did not always have a strong team in front of him. He was still able to lead the Sharks to two Stanley Cup Finals. The one piece of hardware that Nabokov did earn was the Calder Trophy during his rookie season. A lack of team success during those years should not deter this goaltender from being named to the San Jose Sharks all-time lineup.
HM: Joe Pavelski, Dan Boyle, Marco Sturm
While it may have been tough to decide on simply six players to represent the all-time lineup, Joe Pavelski, Dan Boyle, and Marco Sturm are three stars who have made quite a name for themselves in San Jose. From offensive records to a solid blue line, these stars may not be in the starting six, but by no means have been left out of the conversation.
via Last Word on Hockey, by Dan Luise