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Ranking the 5 Best 1st-Round Draft Picks in San Jose Sharks History

Brad KurtzbergContributor IJuly 3, 2014

Ranking the 5 Best 1st-Round Draft Picks in San Jose Sharks History

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    Patrick Marleau is among the top five 1st-round picks in Sharks' history.
    Patrick Marleau is among the top five 1st-round picks in Sharks' history.Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    While not all great NHL players are acquired in the draft, great teams have to be able to draft well or they won't be successful over the long run. The San Jose Sharks are no exception.

    Here is a look at the five best first-round draft picks in Sharks' history. Keep in mind a few ground rules for this list: Players are judged solely on how they performed for the Sharks. Therefore, a player like Viktor Kozlov, who the Sharks drafted but who had more success after leaving San Jose, is not on this list.

    Only players drafted in the first round of the draft are eligible for this list. If the Sharks drafted two players in the opening round of the draft, they are both eligible. If the Sharks didn't have a first-round pick but made a great selection in the second round, he cannot be included.

    Feel free to comment on any player on this list or to mention a player you feel deserves to be included. As always, indicate why you feel the way you do.

5. Scott Hannan, 1997

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    Scott Hannan's specialty was defense.
    Scott Hannan's specialty was defense.Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The San Jose Sharks drafted defenseman Scott Hannan with the 23rd overall pick in the 1997 NHL draft.

    The Richmond, British Columbia, native had two successful stints with San Jose and has been a steady contributor to the team's defense.

    Hannan never put up fancy statistics, but he was a strong player in his own zone and capable of giving his team solid minutes on the ice. Consistency is the key to Hannan's game and those who watch him play on a daily basis recognize his value to the team.

    In 568 career games with the Sharks, Hannan scored 28 goals and 139 points.

    He is sixth on the Sharks all-time list in regular-season games played. He has also appeared in 76 playoff games for Team Teal.

4. Mike Rathje, 1992

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    Mike Rathje was a dependable defenseman for San Jose.
    Mike Rathje was a dependable defenseman for San Jose.Elsa/Getty Images

    The Sharks selected big Mike Rathje with the third pick in the 1992 NHL draft.

    Rathje's 6'5" frame made him tough for opponents to get around, and the big defenseman became a fixture on the San Jose blue line.

    The Manville, Alberta, native had his most productive offensive season in 2002-03 when he scored seven goals and 29 points. The previous year, he had a career-best plus-23 rating.

    Overall, Rathje played parts of 11 seasons for the Sharks—his 671 games played place him third in franchise history in that category. He scored 27 goals and 155 points for the Sharks during his career.

3. Jeff Friesen, 1994

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    Jeff Friesen became a steady forward for San Jose.
    Jeff Friesen became a steady forward for San Jose.ED BETZ/Associated Press

    Jeff Friesen stands fifth in San Jose Sharks history with 350 career points.

    The Sharks drafted Friesen with the 11th overall selection in the 1994 NHL draft.

    Friesen put together four consecutive seasons with at least 20 goals including a career-best 31 tallies in 1997-98. That season, he also tied a franchise record by scoring six short-handed goals.

    Speed was always a big part of Friesen's game. While he started out as an offensive-minded player, he developed into a solid checking forward later in his career.

    In 512 games with San Jose, Friesen scored 149 goals and 350 points. He later went on to win the Stanley Cup with the 2002-03 New Jersey Devils.

2. Logan Couture, 2007

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    Logan Couture has emerged as a consistent goal scorer.
    Logan Couture has emerged as a consistent goal scorer.Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Logan Couture quickly developed into an integral part of the San Jose Sharks' lineup after they drafted him with the ninth overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft.

    Couture was a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best rookie in 2010-11. He topped the 30-goal mark in each of his first two full seasons with the Sharks.

    His most productive season was 2011-12 when the Guelph, Ontario, native scored 31 goals and 65 points.

    Couture tied for the club lead with seven playoff goals in 2010-11 and added 11 points in 11 postseason games in 2012-13.

    In 297 career games with the Sharks, Couture has scored 112 goals and accumulated 220 points. At 25, Couture has a bright future ahead of him. He is expected to be a centerpiece of Team Teal for years to come.

1. Patrick Marleau, 1997

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    Patrick Marleau is the Sharks all-time leading scorer.
    Patrick Marleau is the Sharks all-time leading scorer.Don Smith/Getty Images

    The San Jose Sharks selected Patrick Marleau with the second overall pick in the 1997 NHL draft.

    Marleau is the franchise's all-time leader in games played (1,247), goals scored (437) and points (931). He is second in assists with 494.

    The native of Aneroid, Saskatchewan, has been a steady contributor for the Sharks since joining the team in 1997. Marleau has recorded seven seasons of 30-or-more goals including a career-best 44 in 2009-10. His most productive season came in 2005-06 when he accumulated 86 points.

    Marleau has represented the Sharks in three NHL All-Star Games and was named team MVP three times.

    Marleau is by far the Sharks best first-round draft choice ever.

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