Ranking the 5 Greatest Rookie Seasons in San Jose Sharks History

Brad Kurtzberg@@sealshockeyContributor IOctober 18, 2013

Ranking the 5 Greatest Rookie Seasons in San Jose Sharks History

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    Don Smith/Getty Images

    This year, rookie Tomas Hertl is giving San Jose Sharks fans plenty of thrills and excitement. With that in mind, we will take a look at five greatest rookie seasons in the history of the Sharks.

    This list is not based solely on goals scored or points, although that is a major component of rookie success. Still, defensemen with strong years or goalies with solid rookie seasons are eligible for this list.

    Also, no players from this year's team will make this list. The season is only six games old and despite Tomas Hertl's outstanding start, six games do not make a full season. Obviously, if he keeps up his outstanding pace, Hertl will be on this list once this season is completed.

    Feel free to comment on this list or to mention any player you feel deserved to be on it but was left off. As always, please indicate why you feel your choice belongs on the list.

5. Marcus Ragnarsson

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    Ragnarsson's NHL career got off to a promising start.
    Ragnarsson's NHL career got off to a promising start.Harry How/Getty Images

    Defenseman Marcus Ragnarsson had already played six seasons in the Swedish Elite League when he joined the Sharks in 1995-96.

    As a rookie, Ragnarsson scored eight goals and 39 points, very impressive numbers for a defenseman. He and Mike Rathje made a very effective pair for the Sharks.

    Ragnarsson ended up playing parts of eight seasons with San Jose, although he never matched his outstanding rookie numbers in any subsequent campaign.

    The Sharks traded Ragnarsson to the Flyers during the 2002-03 season for Dan McGillis.

    He returned to Sweden in 2005 and remained active in Sweden through the 2010-11 season.


4. Matt Carle

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    Matt Carle's offensive numbers were impressive in his rookie year.
    Matt Carle's offensive numbers were impressive in his rookie year.Don Smith/Getty Images

    Matt Carle joined the San Jose Sharks after three successful seasons at the University of Denver.

    Carle made his NHL debut late in the 2005-06 season, appearing in 12 games and scoring three goals and six points, not a bad debut for a defenseman.

    His first full campaign was in 2006-07 when the Anchorage, Alaska, native scored 11 goals and 42 points in 77 games. He was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team that year.

    Carle struggled the following season, scoring only two goals and 15 points in 62 games with the Sharks.

    After two full years in San Jose, Carle was dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the deal that brought Dan Boyle to Team Teal.

    Although Carle didn't last long in a Sharks uniform, he made a very strong first impression during his strong rookie year.

3. Rob Gaudreau

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    Winger Rob Gaudreau joined the Sharks in 1992-93 after a successful college career at Providence.

    The Cranston, R.I. native scored 23 goals and 43 points in just 59 games with San Jose that season.

    Gaudreau recorded the first two hat tricks in franchise history. The first came on December 3, 1992 against Sean Burke of the Hartford Whalers. The Sharks lost the game 7-5.

    Nine days later, Gaudreau against potted three goals in a game, this time on Quebec's Ron Hextall in an 8-7 loss to the Nordiques.

    Gaudreau spent one more season with the Sharks, scoring 15 goals and 35 points in 84 games.

    The Senators claimed him in the NHL waiver draft before the start of the 1994-95 season. He spent part of two seasons with the Senators but would never play another NHL game after that.

2. Pat Falloon

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    Pat Falloon was the first draft pick in Sharks history and the second overall selection in the 1991 NHL draft.

    The Sharks expected Falloon to be the cornerstone of their offense and in his rookie year, he didn't disappoint. The Foxwarren, Manitoba, native scored 25 goals and 59 points in his first NHL campaign, but never matched those numbers again during his disappointing pro career.

    After four full seasons in San Jose, the Sharks dealt Falloon to the Flyers on November 16, 1995. He went on to become an NHL journeyman, playing for the Flyers, Senators, Oilers and Penguins before leaving the NHL after the 1999-00 season. After a year in Switzerland, Falloon hung up his skates for good.

    While the rest of his career never lived up to the hype, Pat Falloon left his mark among the all-time best rookies in Sharks history.

1. Logan Couture

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    Logan Couture has continued to improve since his strong rookie year.
    Logan Couture has continued to improve since his strong rookie year.Don Smith/Getty Images

    Logan Couture enjoyed the best rookie season in Sharks history in 2010-11.

    Couture scored 32 goals and accumulated 56 points. The goal total was a franchise record for rookies and placed him second in the league among first-year players. Couture was also second in points among league rookies as well. Because of his strong performance, Couture was named a finalist for the Calder Trophy.

    Unlike many of the other players on this list, Couture continued to grow as a player after his strong rookie season. He scored 31 goals in his second NHL season and his point total increased to 65. In last year's lockout-shortened campaign, Couture tallied 21 times, which would have put him on pace for 36 goals over an 82-game season.

    Couture is 24 and his best hockey seems to be ahead of him. The Sharks are hopeful he will be the first great rookie in their history to become a bona fide star with the club.