San Jose Sharks: 10 Worst Players in Sharks History
As a Sharks fan who's had season tickets since the inception of the franchise, it's safe to say that I've seen a lot of players come and go.
Some we've loved and some not so much.
In this article, I'll rank 10 of the players I feel were the most painful to watch.
Keep in mind that these opinions are my own; some fans might disagree.
Mike Rathje was a player that always pushed my buttons.
Whenever the puck went to his tape, I constantly found my heart skipping a few beats, wondering how he could mess up the game this time.
Rathje was always a favorite of general manager Dean Lombardi during his tenure. And standing at 6-foot-5, why wouldn't he be?
There was only one problem, Rathje played like he was the size of an Oompa Loompa.
The "gentle giant" is what I nicknamed Rathje from a very young age. His play always made me scream, and when he held out for more money for nearly half a season in 2002, I thought for sure the Sharks were finally going to be rid of him. But of course that didn't happen.
Coming back for the 2002-03 season, he recorded record personal numbers, scoring 7 goals and tallying 22 assists. His lack of physical play was always still obvious, and while the lockout did horrible things for the NHL, it gifted the Sharks when Rathje left and signed a five-year deal with the Flyers.
I already know what you're thinking. In your head you're saying, "a hall of fame goalie on the list of worst players in franchise history?"
But that's because you probably didn't grow up a Sharks fan.
Belfour arrived in San Jose as possibly one of the hottest commodities when he was traded to the Sharks midway through the 1996-97 season.
He had already garnered a polished resume, as he had led his previous club, the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup finals and collected the Calder Trophy as an undrafted rookie.
After appearing in just 13 games for the Sharks and recording a 3-9-0 record, he became a free agent.
But when the phone came ringing from then Sharks' general manager Dean Lombardi, there was no answer on Belfour's end. Instead, Belfour's agent expressed to the GM that the goalie had no desire to wear teal ever again.
Belfour makes this list simply for the sour taste he left in fans' mouths due to his actions.
Craig Rivet was a man who was widely considered a respectable stay-at-home defenseman but could still score goals if you needed him to.
At the height of his career, he found himself wearing an A on his sweater, alongside Saku Koivu while playing for the Montreal Canadiens.
When his contract was set to expire in Montreal, he was traded to San Jose with a fifth-round pick and had the Sharks sending Josh Gorges and a first-round pick to the Canadiens.
His time in San Jose was short lived—and for good reason.
Maybe it was the fast-paced style of the Pacific Division, but Rivet just couldn't keep up on the ice. His play was mediocre at best, though he did have a special honeymoon in the postseason while wearing teal.
Here's a player you expected brilliant things from every time you saw him on the ice.
Being selected eighth overall in the 1998 NHL draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, Bell entered with a championship ring already on his finger from his tenure with the OHL's Ottawa 67s.
His best season was in 2005-06; he tallied 25 goals and 23 assists for Chicago. He was subsequently dealt to the Sharks that offseason in a three-way deal involving San Jose, Ottawa and Chicago.
He signed a three-year, $6.5 million contract and was ready to get to work. And the Sharks coaching staff was ready to put him to work, putting him on a line centered by Joe Thornton and flanked by Jonathan Cheechoo.
But the numbers never surfaced.
Bell soon became a healthy scratch, and when he was used, he skated on the fourth line.
During the Labor Day weekend holiday in 2006, Bell was charged and eventually convicted of felony hit and run and drunk driving charges for an accident that left the other driver with several head, back and leg injuries.
Is skating on the fourth line really that bad?
Because of Bell's poor play in the one season he had with the Sharks and his off-ice problems, his trade during the 2007 NHL Draft was much appreciated.
As a player myself, I always try to force myself to love all NHL players of American descent.
Even when I tried to force myself I couldn't bear to watch when Patrick Rissmiller was on the ice.
As a collegiate hockey player, Rissmiller was known for his physical domination of other players and strong two-way playing abilities. Going undrafted in 2002, he signed a pro contract with the Sharks.
Enjoying consistent periods of production with the Sharks then AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Barons, he finally was granted a full-time NHL spot when the Sharks became plagued with injuries.
They would have been better off skating with a shorted bench.
All the goals he scored while in college and in the AHL amounted for nothing when he finally made it to the show. Being a physical player at the collegiate level isn't the same thing as being a physical player in the NHL.
Even at 6-foot-4, Rissmiller often showed an immature, reckless style of play that resulted in countless shoulder separations and even a broken foot.
If the injuries didn't kill his career, his play would have done it just as fast.
Niko Dimitrakos is another product of the American hockey system.
And he's also a player Sharks fans might remember as having a wicked shot that almost resembled another American great—Jeremy Roenick.
Dimitrakos was blessed with linemate Teemu Selanne during his rookie season, and his modest play even helped the Sharks advance to the club's first ever appearance in the Western Conference finals in 2004.
But Dimitrakos' freshman success disappeared—possibly because he was a small bodied player at 5-foot-10. His skating abilities were never the best, and since he was a smaller player, he began to have a consistent issue with getting towards the net.
It all came to an end when Dimitrakos was traded to the Flyers in 2006 for nothing more than a draft pick.
Marcel Goc is a player that loads of Sharks fans have called me crazy for never liking.
The fact of the matter is that Goc is now playing for the Florida Panthers. And in my opinion, there are two teams God sends you to if he wants you to quietly go away: the Panthers or the New York Islanders.
Sure, Goc had a couple of important goals for the Sharks in the postseason but so did Niclas Wallin.
Goc plays center. And for a centerman in the NHL, he has some of the poorest rink vision I've ever seen in a player.
Goc's passes often found the boards or an opposing player more than they found someone wearing the same sweater as him.
And there's nothing more I hate than to see a player taking lazy penalties, and Goc, my friends, was the king of lazy penalties.
Let's touch on some more modern-day players that Sharks fans today might be a little more familiar with.
Kent Huskins. Where do you start with this guy?
Stanley Cup champion, right?
Well, I scored 110 goals in one season of Bantam hockey when I was in my prime.
All joking aside, Huskins and the next men we'll encounter in the final slides are just prime examples of Sharks' general manager Doug Wilson's blind eye toward a player's actual caliber.
I can't think of one thing I'd ever praise Huskins for during his teal tenure. Sure, he's having great success with a league leading St. Louis squad and has even scored a reasonable amount of goals for them.
Keep him, Hitchcock.
Here's another man who will forever have his name etched on the Stanley Cup.
Known as "The Secret Weapon" to the fans of the Carolina Hurricanes due to having only four postseason goals and having them all be game winners, the veteran defenceman was traded to the Sharks in 2010.
Hurricanes fans might have loved him, but in San Jose, he was nothing more than a media favorite in San Jose.
His often sluggish play left his defensive partners skating twice as hard to cover real estate, and even though he continued his "Secret Weapon" charm, scoring a game winning goal against Detroit in the postseason, his time spent as a Shark was two seasons longer than it should have been.
Colin White is the member of not one Stanley Cup team like his predecessors Wallin and Huskins but three.
Here's a stat for you that's updated as of the Sharks' loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on March 29, 2012. When White starts, the Sharks are 22-22-7. When White is a scratch? 17-5-3.
Sure, you can call me a "superstitious hockey player," but the fact of the matter here is when White doesn't play, the Sharks do. And with every point up for grabs in the current Pacific Division playoff race, you want to win, right?
Hell, let Brad Winchester play defense instead.
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