It's hard to imagine that it's already been 20 years since professional hockey has returned to the San Francisco Bay Area. While pro hockey is no stranger to the citizens of Northern California, success and longevity has eluded the wonderful sport until the Sharks came along.
From the modest (and smelly) beginnings of the Cow Palace in Daly City to renovating and transforming the South Bay, the San Jose Sharks signify success from NHL expansion team standpoint.
In compiling this list, I've tried to answer the most difficult questions in regards to the Sharks players and their contributions to the franchise.
Before you begin our top 50 countdown, please keep in mind that statistics are not the only measure by which these players have been selected.
Having said that however, there is no way to definitively answer or rank all of these players without stepping on some toes.
I have referenced many different sources of information for this compilation, including sjsharks.com, bladesofteal.com, and nhl.com.
I hope you enjoy this countdown as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Link Gaetz was one of the 24 players inherited in the Minnesota North Star / San Jose Shark transition. A first round draft pick, Gaetz was Mike Modano's very first bodyguard and helped bring a rugged style of play to San Jose.
Chuck Grillo, then a scout for the Sharks, described Gaetz as "one of the meanest kids living." and that aspect of his pugilistic ability brought him an almost cult-like following from Sharks fans.
Link played in 65 career NHL games, and racked up 412 penalty minutes while playing for both the North Stars and Sharks.
Inside the Numbers : 48 GP, 6 goals, 6 assists, 326 PIM
Why Gaetz is placed here : Gaetz personified the scrappy mentality of the expansion Sharks, and was among the very first fan favorites.
Memorable Shark Moment : His fight against the late Bob Probert was one of the classic hockey fights of all time.
Drafted 10th overall in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, Andrei Nazarov failed to evolve into the power forward that Chuck Grillo initially envisioned.
But make no mistake, Andrei was nasty in the corners, in the crease, and seemed to get nastier the more you provoked him. This tendency and complete inability to determine what was a bad penalty vs a good one limited his overall ice time and impact.
His ice time went up as Kevin Constantine saw the big man's potential and nastiness, but sadly Nazarov never developed his offensive game.
Instead Andrei became one of the nastier players to ever don the Teal, and actually spent time alongside Joe Thornton as a Bruin later in his career.
He was traded to Tampa Bay with a 1st round pick in 1998 Entry Draft for Bryan Marchment, David Shaw and Tampa Bay's 1st round choice.
Inside the Numbers : 169 GP, 23 goals, 28 assists, .302 PPG
Why Nazarov is placed here : Although Nazarov's points totals are mediocre to say the least, he provided the perfect rock to Kozlov's roll. He was a terror in the 1994-1995 season, racking up 94 PIM in just 26 games.
Memorable Shark Moment : His role in the 1997 brawlfest against the Los Angeles Kings.
Viktor Kozlov was sixth overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks but didn't join San Jose until early in the 1994-95 season.
After 16 games with the big club, Kozlov was sent to the now defunct IHL Kansas City Blades for further development to the North American game. During a time in which many European players were struggling to adapt to the rough and tumble style of the NHL, Kozlov was vilified by the media and his coach Darryl Sutter.
Darryl Sutter did not appreciate Kozlov's disdain for physical play or lack of effort on the backcheck and regularly criticized the big man. Despite Kozlov's two goals and franchise record setting 10 shots on goal in his first game in 1997-98, Sutter promptly demoted him to the checking line.
By the end of November in the first round of the next year's draft, he was traded to the Florida Panthers.
Inside the Numbers : 174 GP, 29 goals, 40 assists, .396 PPG
Why Kozlov is placed here : On a team lacking depth and offensive firepower, Kozlov was regularly the best offensive option for the San Jose Sharks. Enduring intense criticism and under fire for most of his San Jose career, Kozlov still put up numbers for a bad team.
Memorable Shark Moment : Kozlov led the Sharks in 1996-1997 in shorthanded goals with 3, all while logging limited penalty kill ice time.
The second overall pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, Andrei Zyuzin is the biggest tease to ever play for the San Jose Sharks. Fresh off his back-to-back performances in the World Junior Championships for Team Russia, he made an immediate impact as a rookie.
Great vision, awesome skating ability and one of the hardest shots in franchise history, Zyuzin could have been the franchise defenseman for San Jose.
Instead, his sophomore season became an off-ice soap opera, leading to his suspension for the remainder of the 1998-1999 season for leaving the team without permission.
After suddenly firing his agent, Andrei went AWOL on March 19 and went missing for 12 games.
During his absence, he was represented by Vitaly Shevchenko a man not recognized by the players agent union or the NHLPA. Zyuzin eventually rehired his previous agent and returned to the Sharks without explanation.
Amidst rumors of Russian mafia connections and association with individuals with checkered pasts, Zyuzin was dealt to Tampa Bay for Niklas Sundstrom.
Inside the Numbers : 81 GP, 9 goals, 8 assists, .209 PPG
Why Zyuzin is placed here : Zyuzin never became the Shark he could have been, but flashed some tremendous potential in his short time in San Jose. He also exacted a measure of revenge against Ed Belfour in the playoffs the year after Belfour left the Sharks as a UFA.
Memorable Shark Moment : Zyuzin scored one of the biggest goals in San Jose Shark history, when his OT slapshot from the point beat the hated Ed Belfour in Game 4 of the 1997-1998 Western Conference quarterfinals. Scoring the goal 6:31 into the extra session gave the Sharks the 1-0 victory, before bowing out in six games to the Stars.
After peaking in Edmonton in the 1992-93 season, Joe Murphy settled into his role of being a very solid contributor, capable of playing the pivot and on the power play.
He was traded to San Jose from the Blues in exchange for Todd Gill on March 24th, 1998 and promptly chipped in 9 points in 10 games and 2 points in the playoffs. After logging 48 points and a solid +10 rating the following year he was not retained and signed with the Boston Bruins.
Inside the Numbers : 86 GP, 30 goals, 27 assists, .662 PPG
Why Murphy is placed here : In a short amount of time, Murphy made an immediate contribution on offense and, unlike Craig Janney or Ray Sheppard, could actually play some defense.
Memorable Shark Moment : Murphy's "fight" against Petr Svboda was an awesome fight showing a side of Murphy's game that was never seen from before or since. Comments from then TV color commentator Steven Konroyd went a bit far however, "jackhammer rights" and Joe Murphy just don't go together.
Taking over for the immortal Bob Errey, Jeff Odgers was the perfect choice as the Sharks captain from 1995-96. Perhaps one of the most hard-nosed and intense players in team history, Odgers logged 3 seasons of 200+ PIM and tough play
Never afraid to drop the gloves in defense of his teammates, Odgers was loved in the locker room even if he wasn't loved by the fanbase.
Inside the Numbers : 334 GP, 48 goals, 34 assists, .245 PPG
Why Odgers is placed here : Jeff Odgers was a perfect mouthpiece for Kevin Constantine and matched the head coach's intensity. His leadership and willingness to stick up for his teammates made his time with the Sharks invaluable.
Memorable Shark Moment : Any one of the Jeff Odgers vs. Bob Probert fights.
For many fans, Brad Stuart may be the one that got away as he's become the dominant force that Dean Lombardi initially envisioned when he was drafted third overall.
Stuart was a anchor on the blueline for the San Jose Sharks during his five seasons there, and missed just five games in his first three seasons. After an injury marred campaign in 2002-03, Stuart set career highs in points with 39 and was key in the Sharks run to the Western Conference Finals against Calgary.
Stuart returned to San Jose ready to take the next steps following the lockout year, only to be traded to Boston in the Joe Thornton blockbuster trade.
Inside the Numbers : 355 GP, 34 goals, 107 assists, .397 PPG
Why Stuart is placed here : Brad Stuart was supposed to be everything that Mike Rathje wasn't, and while he did not stay in town long enough to develop, he left a sizable void on the blueline. Stuart finished runner-up in Calder Trophy voting behind Scott Gomez, all while playing on the West Coast.
Memorable Shark Moment : In a game on April 4, 2004 against the Kings, Brad Stuart scored back to back goals just 17 seconds apart, setting a then franchise record.
Winner of the Hobey Baker award as the NCAA's top player in 2006, Carle burst onto the NHL scene leading all rookie defenseman in points. After being extended to a four-year deal the Sharks dealt Carle, a regular on San Jose's blue line and part of their young developing core.
Carle scored 42 points in 77 games that season, making the NHL's all-rookie team along with fellow defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic. He struggled his third calender year, despite the big contract and head coach Ron Wilson rode him mercilessly while cutting his ice time.
Traded to Tampa Bay by San Jose with Ty Wishart, San Jose's 1st round choice in 2009 Entry Draft and San Jose's 4th round choice in 2010 Entry Draft for Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich, July 4, 2008.
Inside the Numbers : 151 GP, 16 goals, 47 assists, .418 PPG
Why Carle is placed here : Matt led all rookie defensemen and finished sixth among all NHL rookies in points (42) and set several franchise rookie highs—including goals and points by a defenseman and power play goals
Memorable Shark Moment : Scoring the game-winning goal in Game 1 of the 2006-2007 Western Conference semifinals against the hated Red Wings for the 2-0 victory.
Teemu Selanne cracks our list of franchise Sharks at number 44 even through just two years of his service at right wing. Having been a long time Shark hunter, his tenure as a Shark met with mixed results and inconsistent reviews.
He did lead the team in goals and posted decent numbers (54 and 64 points) in his first two full seasons, he was more remembered for the near trade he vetoed.
The trade that would have brought Scott Gomez to San Jose in a multi-player deal was axed by Selanne at the last minute.
Inside the Numbers: 176 GP, 64 goals, 67 assists, .744 PPG
Why Selanne is placed here: Teemu is a class act and a tremendous player who even at the ripe age of 40 continues to defy Father Time. Sadly his time with the Ducks, and in a lesser degree the Avalanche exclude him from being higher on our list.
He is one hell of a individual, as classy a hockey player as you will ever find and has one of the best rookie campaigns of all time.
Memorable Shark Moment: Stringing along the Ducks as a free agent just long enough for him and Kariya to bolt to Colorado.
I really could point to Selanne's post season numbers as a Shark or any of his big goals, posting 10 points in 18 playoff games but chose this moment instead.
Part of the expansion dispersal draft, Rob Gaudreau was an offensively gifted winger who played well on a team lacking in NHL talent. He scored 23 goals as a rookie with the Sharks, and recorded 43 points in 59 games and also played for Team USA in the World Championships.
His hat trick against the Whalers is the first in team history and truly showed what kind of offensive skills the young Gaudreau had.
His defensive game was lacking to say the least, and by the time the Sharks made the playoffs in 1994, Rob's role was diminished although he did contribute with two playoff goals.
Inside the Numbers: 143 GP, 38 goals, 40 assists, .545 PPG
Why Gaudreau is placed here: He recorded the team's first ever hat trick and gave the Sharks fans some excitement in an otherwise horrid opening campaign.
Memorable Shark Moment: The rookie right winger recorded three goals in just his second NHL game on Dec 3rd, 1992 against the Hartford Whalers. Even with his efforts however, the Sharks still fell 7-5.
A deadline acquisition in 1994, Dahlen was the veteran scoring punch and provided a perfect balance to Craig Janney's open-ended style. Never confused for a speedy skater, Dahlen got the job done with his superior will, strong balance and terrific hands.
Although his four seasons spent in San Jose saw significant drops in his scoring numbers from his Minnesota and Dallas days, he was always at his best when stakes were highest.
Putting up goals and placing in the Sharks top six in scoring for both of those playoff years, Dahlen also tied for the scoring lead in 1995 with Igor Larionov.
After failing to make the playoffs in 1996, the Sharks shipped Dahlen out in a package deal to bring Ed Belfour to San Jose.
Inside the Numbers : 161 GP, 41 goals, 52 assists, .577 PPG
Why Dahlen is placed here : Dahlen was a consummate pro, who gave it his all and stepped up during the playoffs. The trade that brought Crazy Eddie to the Sharks, and gave Chicago a performer like Dahlen marks a sad day in franchise history.
Memorable Shark Moment : Dahlen scored the game winner in OT via the power play against the Calgary Flames in Game 2 of the 1994-95 playoffs.
It doesn't get much nastier or dirtier than the game that Bryan Marchment brought to the Sharks, patrolling the blueline for 6 years. Known for his razor sharp intensity and willingness to toe the line and occasionally cross it marked his tenure in Teal.
Marchment and penalties went hand in hand, as he topped the 200 minute mark in 2000-01 and always had the opposition looking around for him before handling the puck.
While he definitely deserves mention on this list, it will be without fanfare from many fans including myself. His play in his zone, nastiness in the crease and hard hitting ability will always be overshadowed by his many questionable knee-on-knee hits.
Some fans may want to hide behind the cliche that Marchment's play might make him repugnant as an opponent but makes him valued as a teammate, but I just don't agree.
Inside the Numbers : 334 GP, 13 goals, 53 assists, .197 PPG
Why Marchment is placed here : He was nasty, dirty and along with blueline partner Gary Suter, struck fear into the opposition with his intensity and knees.
Memorable Shark Moment : Bryan Marchment has been known for his many dirty hits that have put several players' careers in jeopardy, but this hit against Doug Weight sticks out in my mind.
In two years with the San Jose Sharks, Rob Blake provided leadership, valuable experience and a steadying hand for the Sharks franchise. While he was clearly on the downside of his Hall of Fame career, Blake again cracked the 40 point plateau in his first year with 10 goals and 35 assists.
After signing another one year deal to stay in Northern California, Blake wore the C and helped the Sharks to the Western Conference Finals.
Along with Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Blake made up a terrific second pairing and collected seven goals and 23 assists in 70 games and added a goal and a helper in the playoffs.
Inside the Numbers : 143 GP, 17 goals, 58 assists, .524 PPG
Why Blake is placed here : Zyuzin never became the Shark he could have been, but flashed some tremendous potential in his short time in San Jose. He also exacted a measure of revenge against Ed Belfour the year after leaving the Sharks as a UFA.
Memorable Shark Moment : Rob Blake's spear against Sharks fan "favorite" Corey Perry against the Ducks.
While some people may complain, Marc-Edouard Vlasic has every right to be on this list, and has been this team's backbone on defense for quite some time.
He is consistently one of the most trusted players for head coach Todd McLellan, is always among team leaders in defensive zone starts and on the ice in crucial moments.
With his smooth stride and great skating ability, he's positionally very sound in every zone and makes the solid first pass. With an underrated but very effective point shot that can be deadly on the power point through screens, Vlasic flashes tremendous offensive potential.
While the development of his offensive game has been delayed due to injury, he's now healthy as ever and could be developing into a threat in the playoffs for the Sharks.
Inside the Numbers : 386 GP, 18 goals, 92 assists, .284 GPP, +52 rating
Why Vlasic is placed here : While many young defenders must learn how to play defense, Pickles has been a rock since day one. He is consistently tasked with taking on the top flight player, and consistently comes out playing solid defensive hockey. If his offensive game lives up to the potential that he's shown, the sky is the limit for Marc-Edouard.
Dreams do come true for some people, and Nisse Ekman's story is one of the classic tales for the Sharks. While spending most of his early NHL career playing in the AHL, Ekman put up 30 goals and 66 points for the Hartford Wolf Pack.
But he never once dressed for the Blueshirts and took a short stint overseas when he failed to make the roster in New York. Traded to San Jose in 2003 for Chad Wiseman, Ekman dressed in every game, and set a franchise record with a plus-30 rating.
"Nisse" Ekman burst into the 2003-04 NHL Season cashing in with 22 goals, 33 assists in 82 games. Playing alongside Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo, the speedy Swede produced a pair of 20 goal, 50 point seasons.
Going overseas in the work stoppage of 2004-05 to play for the Swedish Djurgårdens IF hockey team, Ekman started slow but still posted another 20 goal season.
Inside the Numbers : 264 GP, 60 goals, 91 assists, .571 PPG
Why Ekman is placed here : Nils "Nisse" Ekman was a common European NHL story with some uncommon and controversial incidents. His numbers speak for themselves and without a ugly elbow injury and a stroke that he is thankfully recovering from, he could still be playing in the league
Kyle Mclaren was a bruising hitter and rugged defenseman during his 5 seasons with the San Jose Sharks. Known for his big open ice hits and uncanny knack of timing the hip check, McLaren struck fear into opposing forwards nightly. Despite his intensity and aggressiveness, he rarely crossed the line and played within the rules during his stay in San Jose.
His style of checking and play didn't do any favors for his durability, as he missed time in each of his 4 full seasons as a Shark.
His effectiveness as a defender and checker began to diminish with the weight of injuries beginning to take their toll. Never known for his blazing foot speed, his style of plodding defensive play became less and less effective post-lockout.
Inside the Numbers : 302 GP, 12 goals, 83 assists, .315 PPG
Why Mclaren is placed here : He was the anchor to the Sharks defense and had an outstanding campaign in 2005, where he was among the team's best players and leaders. His 300 games are an outstanding hallmark to his career and time with San Jose.
Memorable Shark Moment : Kyle McLaren's signature moment as a Shark to me would be his hit against Trevor Letowski
I thought the guy was dead to be honest.
A key part of the Sharks' success in the new millennium, Ehrhoff added yet another page to the chapter of successful German born players for the Sharks.
The mobile defenseman tallied 4 straight 20 point seasons including a 42 point campaign in his final year as a Shark.
Christian was always the quiet player who just simply got the job done, when the game is over you hardly remember him playing and that's exactly what he does best. Ehrhoff may draw mixed reactions when asking the average Sharks fan, but his mark on the franchise cannot be disputed.
A positionally sound defenseman who has made a living from playing against the best opposition, Ehrhoff enjoyed some quality years in teal.
Inside the Numbers : 341 GP, 25 goals, 107 assists, .387 PPG
Why Ehrhoff is placed here : Though some detractors may point to his small frame, his turnovers, or lack of physicality, Ehrhoff still enjoyed a great run as a Sharks defenseman.
Memorable Shark Moment : Christian sent the Sharks to the playoffs following a clutch overtime goal against the Vancouver Canucks on April 13, 2006.
The jury is still out on Dany Heatley, given the fact he's only in his second year as a San Jose Shark. Needing more scoring punch up front, Doug Wilson took a gamble trading for the controversial Heatley who has had his fair share of locker room and off-ice incidents.
Heatley is a pure goal scorer who also has the vision to set up his linemates, he has the size to play in the greasy areas of the ice and is deadly in the slot.
While he's endured a poor season thus far, he's still one of the most talented players on the roster and thus cannot be counted out of any game.
The Sharks will need him if they want to achieve their goals of hoisting the Stanley Cup this season.
Inside the Numbers : 159 GP, 64 goals, 80 assists, .905 PPG
Why Heatley is placed here : Some may argue and dispute his placement on this list and while they may have merit, Heatley's numbers cannot be denied.
Chosen 8th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Devin Setoguchi is taking steps in establishing himself as one of the youngest up-and-comers in the NHL.
With speed to spare, Setoguchi has excellent touch in close around the net as well as terrific one-on-one ability. He's starting to put up the consistency that has eluded him much of his young career, and is one of the best Sharks in the second half of 2010-11.
He's a sniper with moves that is also starting to develop an edge, bringing a slightly more rugged style to an already very competitive player. Delivering the hit, on the forecheck, or on special teams, Setoguchi has taken huge steps in becoming the true three-zone player the Sharks envisioned when selecting him in the first round in 2005.
Inside the Numbers: 265 GP, 84 goals, 75 assists, .599 PPG
Why Setoguchi is placed here: Alongside Logan Couture, Devin Setoguchi makes up the Sharks future at wing and could very easily be a huge factor in the playoffs this year. Many fans that were willing to give up on Devin should be able to appreciate that he's turned the corner and showing people that he's the real deal.
Memorable Shark Moment: While Setoguchi has his fair share of clutch moments, I like his game against the Colorado Avalanche earlier this year where he set a franchise first, collecting the hat trick with a Sharks shutout.
With all the doubt and trade clamor surrounding young Devin Setoguchi earlier this year, he's proven his doubters wrong and shown that he just might be ready to take the next step.
Tony Granato played a gritty undersized game that made him a fan favorite very quickly after the mass influx of Los Angeles Kings players in the mid 90s.
Agitator, pest and leader, Granato led by example and was the model of professionalism during a Sharks era not known for taking care of business. While his numbers weren't great by any stretch, Granato was a player you could count on to play hard every single night.
His best season with the Sharks was his first, where he occassionally shared a line with another ex-King Bernie Nicholls. Posting 25 goals and 15 assists in 76 games, Granato also logged 159 PIM while irritating his opponents to no end.
Inside the Numbers: 278 GP, 57 goals, 42 assists, .356 PPG
Why Granato is placed here: Tony Granato helped bridge the gap from the disastrous Al Sims regime to the new era Sharks and consistently provided veteran leadership every season.
Memorable Shark Moment: Winning the Masterton Trophy in 1996-97 having undergone major brain surgery during the offseason.
Among the very first Sharks heroes, Kelly Kisio was a clutch player for the young expansion San Jose Sharks. Kelly played in the team's first two seasons in the NHL, and recorded the team's first game winning goal. He also represented San Jose as an All-Star in 1993.
He put up a career-best point-per-game average in 78 games, including 26 goals tying a career best.
Inside the Numbers: 126 GP, 37 goals, 78 assists, .912 PPG
Why Kisio is placed here: With 115 points in 126 games through 1991-1993, Kelly Kisio was a huge part of the San Jose Sharks' early success.
Memorable Shark Moment: In just their third game, the Sharks recorded their first victory ever, downing the Calgary Flames 4-3. Kisio netted the power play game-winner with just 3:15 left in regulation, forever etching his name in Sharks history.
Doug Wilson was the San Jose Sharks very first team captain, and was an All-Star in the team's inaugural season. Selected sixth overall in 1977 after an awesome junior career with the Ottawa 67's, Wilson played a total of 14 NHL seasons and is still one of the best Blackhawk defenseman of all time.
Recepient of the Norris Trophy in 1982 where he rang up 39 goals and 85 total points, Wilson instantly brought a level of respect and credibility to the Sharks.
He played two seasons for the Sharks, scoring a total of 48 points (12 goals, 36 assists) in 86 games.
Inside the Numbers: 86 GP, 12 goals, 36 assists, .558 PPG
Why Wilson is placed here: The only thing better than Wilson's captaincy and leadership in the first two seasons of Sharks hockey, is his vision as a GM. Considered one of the best GM's in the business, Wilson has quietly and quickly established the franchise as one of the best in the Western Conference.
Plus, he played without a helmet. How cool is that?
"Korky" quickly gained a fan following with his energetic style of play and small stature in the late 90s. With a quick release and the desire and hustle to play along the boards despite his frame, fans got behind Korolyuk and loved him right away.
After suffering a slow start in the 99 season, the Sharks called up Korolyuk from the Kentucky Thoroughblades on Dec. 11 and promptly netted 12 goals and 18 assists. He was named the team's rookie of the year.
Even with those fans, Korolyuk still bounced back and forth overseas, splitting time over the span of 6 years with the Sharks. He recorded 19 goals and 37 points just before the lockout and has split time in the RSL and KHL ever since.
Inside the Numbers: 296 GP, 62 goals, 80 assists, .479 PPG
Why Korolyuk is placed here: You would be hard pressed to find a Sharks fan that doesn't love Korky, who epitomized the underdog with his scrappy style of play. Close to 300 games logged in teal, and a decent PPG average despite his limited ice time puts him on our list.
Memorable Shark Moment: Korky put up three points (2 goals, 1 assist) in the 2003-04 playoffs against the Calgary Flames in Game 3.
Milan was selected 6th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and made the team out of camp the next year. An unfortunate knee injury suffered in an October 11, 2003 game vs. Calgary derailed his promising year, and the lockout wiped out the following season.
Michalek made an immediate impact in 2005-06 notching 17 goals and collecting 35 points, and over the next 3 years posted 3 consecutive 50 point seasons for San Jose.
Alongside Patrick Marleau and Steve Bernier, Michalek had an excellent year and improved by posting 66 points in 78 games the following season. Moved up to the top line alongside Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo, they played extremely well in the playoffs before bowing out to Detroit.
The next year, with teams paying him more attention, Milan struggled to regain his 2006-07 form and posted 55 points. Michalek was traded to the Senators in the Dany Heatley deal, and fans will always remember his speed and kamikaze skating style.
Inside the Numbers: 317 GP, 91 goals, 123 assists, .679 PPG
Memorable Shark Moment: Michalek scored from his knees against the Dallas Stars in 2008, on a nifty feed from Joe Pavelski. Great goal.
Currently part of the Comcast Sportsnet broadcast team, Jamie Baker is an instantly recognizable icon in Sharks lore.
A strong two-way player, Jamie Baker will always be remembered for his postseason exploits in a San Jose Shark uniform. His goal is undoubtedly the biggest goal in San Jose Shark history, giving the young franchise it's first ever playoff series win against the powerhouse Red Wings.
As the 8th seed in the Western Conference the Sharks defeated Detroit 3-2 in the seventh and deciding game of the Western Conference quarterfinals. Jamie Baker scored the game winning goal at the 13:25 mark of the third period.
Chris Osgood's errant clearing pass was corralled by Baker who promptly deposited it into the net for the series clincher in the first round.
Inside the Numbers: 185 GP, 35 goals, 26 assists, .329 PPG
Why Baker is placed here: Baker was huge in 1994, providing the game-winning and playoff-seed clinching goal in the victory against the LA Kings on April 5th, as well as his huge Game 7 stunner over the Red Wings.
Memorable Shark Moment: Never say never.. need we say more?
Scott Hannan slowly developed into one of the team's best shutdown defenders and is ranked second in games played by a defenseman for San Jose.
Strong on the puck, good along the boards and strong enough to knock his man down, Hannan was, and still is, an excellent defensive player. An overachiever from an offensive skillpoint, Hannan may not light up the scoreboard but can eat up quality minutes with the best of them.
After logging 500 games in teal, he signed with the Colorado Avalanche in 1997 as a free agent marking the end of a blueline era in San Jose.
Inside the Numbers : 508 GP, 25 goals, 102 assists, .255 PPG
Why Hannan is placed here : Scott Hannan is one of the best top 4 defenders in San Jose Shark history and the man was quite simply a workhorse during his tenure.
Memorable Shark Moment : During the 2005-06 playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers, Scott Hannan, Mark Smith and Kyle Mclaren killed off a 5-3 Oiler powerplay with just one stick. Who can ever forget the indelible memory of both Smith and Hannah diving to block shots, all while desperately keeping the Oilers at bay?
Niklas Sundstrom may not get the fanfare others on this list garner, but his time with the Sharks was every bit as important. One of the best defensive forwards of his time, Sundstrom played an excellent game in all three zones and was unselfish, consistently near the top in blocked shots.
During the better part of four seasons, his offensive contributions are meager at first blush but do not tell the entire story about one of the Sharks' best two way forwards of all time. Landing the very smart, quick skating Sundstrom was a major move for Dean Lombardi, and it paid off in spades.
Unlike many European players during that era, Sundstrom also did not shy away from the physical stuff and had very good vision to find teammates.
Inside the Numbers: 281 GP, 33 goals, 104 assists, .487 PPG
Why Sundstrom is placed here: Sundstrom has long held the title of best Swedish Shark, but Murray may be closing in on that title. "Sunny" was huge in 2001, playing a vital role for the Sharks and his value transcended his point totals and stats.
You take one look at "Crankshaft" and you just don't think "Ivy League" background as the first impression. For the big man on skates, many of his opponents get to find out the hard way that there's nothing Ivy about his ability.
Murray has been a beast for the Sharks on the back end, and I can't begin to count how many forechecking forwards bounce off of him when trying to deliver a hit. How many times have you seen a forward get crunched behind the net on the forecheck? How many times has Murray delivered the big open ice hit?
Murray is quietly climbing the ranks of San Jose Shark history as he continues his defensive rock to Dan Boyle's roll.
Despite limited offensive upside and skating ability, Murray can still move the puck up the ice and uses his body as well as anyone to shield the puck.
Inside the Numbers: 359 GP, 6 goals, 44 assists, .139 PPG
Memorable Shark Moment: In Game four of the 2008 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Calgary Flames, Murray delivered a great pass that Joe Thornton knocked home for the game-winner.
You won't find a player that consistently overachieves as much as Ryane Clowe, who has quietly become a premiere power forward with hard work and dedication.
The son of a crab fisher, Clowe surely knows what hard work means and can impose his will in many different ways for San Jose. A timely check, a clutch goal, perfect pass or if you just need someone's head pounded in, Clowe can do it all.
A quiet developing year in 2008-2009 rolled Clowe's game into the breakout year in 2009-2010 as Clowe established career highs in points, assists, shots and penalty minutes. He also set a career high with a 10 game scoring streak in March on the way to being selected Player of the Month.
This year he's called out his teammates after a inconsistent start to the season, and been a leader in the locker room. His steady two-way play and grit in the corners and along the boards makes him invaluable to the Sharks, and he's only getting better with each passing game.
Inside the Numbers: 319 GP, 84 goals, 131 assists, .673 PPG
Why Clowe is placed here: Ryane Clowe is one of the best players the Sharks have, and along with Setoguchi and Pavelski can lead the Sharks into the next era. He's transformed himself from an energy line checker into one of the team's most important pieces, and he's not done yet.
Memorable Shark Moment: Although I could list any number of his big plays and clutch performances, I think that his most memorable moment just may be after the 4-3 loss to the Canucks earlier this year.
Clowe did not mince his words, calling teammates out after a poor showing and with the team floundering in the first half, missing the leadership of Rob Blake, his outburst just may have been his signature moment.
Gary Suter may have been on the wrong side of 30 by the time he joined the San Jose Sharks, but his veteran leadership went a long way for the Sharks. Playing strong hockey for 3 seasons in San Jose, Suter recorded 30+ points in each of his years and showed his edge when he needed to.
Suter was selected to the US team in the Salt Lake City Olympics and collected a silver medal before retiring in the offseason. A model of consistency Suter provided the offensive jump that the Sharks could rely on.
His numbers speak for themselves, ranking Gary Suter as one of the best offensive Sharks defenseman of all time.
Inside the Numbers: 227 GP, 22 goals, 79 assists, .445 PPG
Why Suter is placed here: Over 1,000 games in his NHL career and a proven winner at every level, Suter did it all for the Sharks and provided a spark from the blueline.
Memorable Shark Moment: Gary Suter scored in Game 6 of the 2000 playoffs against the St. Louis Blues giving the Sharks the lead midway through the third period.
Lacking the fanfare of other Sharks defenseman, "Rags" was as steady as they come for the Sharks on the blue line. For eight years his play and presence gave the Sharks the dependable defender, and in 1995-96 he led the defense with 39 total points.
Marcus provided fans with a familiar face during the team's mid-90's rebuilding movement, and along with Jeff Friesen and Michael Sykora led the youth movement.
Whether it was Kevin Constantine's dismissal, interim Jim Riley and the horrible nightmare of Al Sims, Rags was there through a tough transitional period for the franchise.
Inside the Numbers: 519 GP, 28 goals, 125 assists, .294 PPG
Why Ragnarsson is placed here: Ragnarsson was easily one of the best defenders on a team that had no idea how to play defense, allowing a league leading 357 goals in his first year. When paired with Mike Rathje, the duo were one of the best shutdown pairs in the NHL.
He also made an All-Star game, a huge testament to his abilities given his defensive style of play.
Big Mike Rathje was a hulking figure on the Sharks blue line for over 600 games, and is the best Sharks defender of all time. Never confused for a fleet footed skater or an offensive powerhouse, Rathje's game was in shutting down everyone and anyone within his wingspan.
In an era where defenders could pin players against the glass and hold them there, nobody was better in the NHL when it came to the clutch and grab.
At 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, Rathje did not always use his big frame as fans thought he should, often drawing their ire. People thought he would be the second coming of Chris Pronger and the early injury issues did not help Rat any in the forum of public opinion.
In 1999, Rathje was awarded the Ironman Award, given to the player whose grit, determination and perseverance allowed him to lead the club in games played. He did not contribute much to the offense and his first pass leaned towards the conservative and safe play, as opposed to the dynamic one.
Still, for 671 games, Mike could shut down the opposition and log heavy minutes for the San Jose Sharks.
Inside the Numbers: 671 GP, 27 goals, 128 assists, .230 PPG, 439 PIM
Why Rathje is placed here: Big Mike leads the Sharks defenseman in games played and opponents shut down. He was a stalwart for the Sharks blue line for over 14 years and is easily one of the best Sharks of all time.
Memorable Shark Moment: Rat was huge in the 2000 playoffs against the Blues, leading the team in blocked shots and on the penalty kill.
"JR" was drafted in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft eighth overall by the Chicago Blackhawks and is one of my favorite players of all time, let alone a Shark. Although he spent just two years in San Jose, and was a mere shadow of the player who put up 107 points in back-to-back seasons, Roenick still left an indelible mark on the Sharks.
His refreshingly truthful and to the point candor may have rubbed some teammates the wrong way, but Roenick called it like he saw it. His unique blend of size, skill and speed was a perfect compliment for the Sharks despite his age, and he led both off the ice and on.
After signing with the Sharks in 2007, JR played with heart showing that he still had all the tools and desire to play.
Inside the Numbers: 111 GP, 18 goals, 28 assists, .414 PPG
Why Roenick is placed here: Of all the ex-Blackhawks in San Jose Shark history, JR is heads above the rest, although a certain goaltender might be sneaking up on Roenick.
Memorable Shark Moment: This one is almost too easy, with Roenick collecting the bad angle game-winner in Game 7 against the Calgary Flames in the 2008 NHL playoffs.
His 500th goal comes a distant second on the list of memorable Shark moments only due to it's fluky nature.
Sergei Makarov made up one-third of the fabled "Ov" line for the San Jose Sharks, joining them from the Hartford Whalers before the 1993-94 season. Reunited with fellow countryman Igor Larionov, Makarov along with Johan Garpenlov helped spur the Sharks within a game of the semifinals in 1994.
What else can be said about the magical chemistry between the Russians on this line early in the Sharks existence? Sergei's tenure as a Shark is short but sweet for all Sharks fans old enough to remember the magic and wonder this line generated for San Jose.
After that magical run however, Makarov failed to make the cut in training camp and was part of the large exodus as our Shark heroes fell one by one.
Inside the Numbers: 123 GP, 40 goals, 52 assists, .747 PPG
Why Makarov is placed here: Why isn't he higher should really be the question, during his brief stay he was one of the best to ever don the Sharks sweater. His PPG average ranks him among the team's elite and we hardly knew him with just 123 games played.
The Sharks second round draft pick overall, Pat Falloon gave the Sharks their first drafted prospect ever. During San Jose's inaugural season, Pat Falloon set a franchise record for rookie goals with 25 in a season.
While the NHL robbed the Sharks of Eric Lindros, Pat Falloon entered the league with a flurry of media hype, but failed to live up to the lofty expectations. A lack of defensive acumen and being rushed into the league did the rookie no favors, as he couldn't build on his early play.
Despite struggling with some weight issues late in his career, the Sharks very first draft pick still had a decent point-per-game rating and could skate well. When he was traded to the Flyers, Falloon was the franchise leader in points with 162.
Inside the Numbers: 258 GP, 76 goals, 86 assists, .628 PPG
Why Falloon is placed here: Falloon had 25 goals and 59 points as an 18 year old kid for one of the worst teams in NHL history. Enough said.
Memorable Shark Moment: Setting the franchise record for rookie goals in a season that stood for another 20 years.
Johan Garpenlov was an integral part of the magical postseason run in the 1993-1994 season, and posted 22 goals with 41 assists through 94 total games. His previous year in an injury shortened season, Garpenlov netted 22 goals and 44 assists in just 79 games.
Playing alongside Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov, the Swede completed the "Ov" line and gave fans plenty of reasons to cheer in 184 games.
Great hands and superior vision powered his game and brought an added dimension to the San Jose Shark roster. Although he's remembered for his Game Six shot which rang off the post in overtime, Garpenlov performed in the clutch and when stakes were highest.
Inside the Numbers: 184 GP, 46 goals, 86 assists, .727 PPG
Why Garpenlov is placed here: While many will point to the contributions of Igor Larionov, Makarov, Ozolinsh or Irbe as the sole reasons for the Sharks Cinderella run that year, one would be remiss to exclude Garpenlov from the list. Without him there's no way the Sharks extend to seven games against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Memorable Shark Moment :
The second round draft pick of the Sharks in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Whitney is a rare NHL player who has excelled for almost two decades despite a small frame.
The speedy winger was one of the most elusive Sharks ever, and his anticipation of his teammates and the development of the play was uncanny. Playing as well coming down the ice on his off-wing or on, Whitney is a shifty playmaker who can ring the puck home if the goalie is caught napping.
While his defensive play was less than desirable, he more than made up for the difference in space with the puck and can still produce in today's NHL at the age of 39.
Inside the Numbers: 200 GP, 48 goals, 73 assists, .605 PPG
Why Whitney is placed here: Ray Whitney is about as clutch as it comes, and always elevated his play as a Shark when the chips were down.
Memorable Shark Moment: His Game 7 winner against Trevor Kidd at 1:54 of the second overtime provided yet another remarkable first round upset against the favored Flames. Unfortunately for the Sharks, the revenge minded Red Wings awaited in the second round and wasted no time sweeping the Sharks in 4.
Following a freak accident that required a delicate surgery to repair the tendons in his wrists, Tampa Bay traded away their star defenseman, Dan Boyle.
In exchange for Matt Carle, Ty Wishart and a first round selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, San Jose procured the All-Star, Stanley Cup winning defenseman.
Dan Boyle has been nothing short of spectacular during his short stay in San Jose, and enjoyed his finest season in 2009-10. Ranking fourth among NHL defenseman in points and goals Dan Boyle also averaged 26:12 minutes of ice time a game.
On the international stage, Boyle was part of the Canadian team that captured gold on home soil at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
Boyle also rebounded in last year's playoff run, showing his leadership and resilience after some tough breaks against Colorado in the playoffs.
With 43 assists a year ago, he set a franchise mark for assists in a season by a defenseman.
In his short time he has clearly established himself as one of the leaders the locker room, and in the 2010-11 season could very well be the MVP. Following the retirement of Rob Blake, Dan Boyle carried the load in the early going of the season for the Sharks.
With his silky smooth skating and terrific first pass, Dan Boyle is quickly charging up the franchise records on his way to becoming the greatest Shark defenseman of all time.
Inside the Numbers: 227 GP, 40 goals, 165 assists, .907 PPG
Why Boyle is placed here: Dan Boyle is simply the man, and for the better part of three seasons, has been the workhorse for the Sharks. The Sharks power play, breakout and leadership all run through number 22, and he's not done yet.
Memorable Shark Moment : "Boiler" recorded a Gordie Howe Hat Trick earlier this season with a goal, assist and fighting major while taking on Brad Richardson on April 4 vs the Kings.
Much like Dan Boyle, Jeff Norton's game was based on his smooth skating ability, crisp outlet passes and excellent power play acumen. His ability to lead the breakout and contribute on special teams played a huge role for a team lacking in team speed.
His effectiveness as a New York Islander playing alongside Pat LaFontaine carried over in his first year with the Sharks. Norton put up an impressive 33 assists in just 64 games, and chipped in another 6 points in 14 playoff games.
Although his numbers and impact declined in each successive year following his first year with the Sharks, Jeff Norton will always remind fans of 1993-94.
Inside the Numbers: 225 GP, 12 goals, 81 assists, .413 PPG
Why Norton is placed here: Norton and Ozolinsh manning the power play were just deadly and Norton was also good enough to allow Sandis to jump up into the play and contribute. Norton was a huge part of the Sharks' early playoff success in just their third year of existence.
Some doubters may say that it's too early to include Little Joe this high on this list. I'd like to share a secret I've known about Pavelski for quite some time now with you.
Joe Pavelski is a machine. I say this to you because otherwise you might not believe me. He has quietly and efficiently become one of the biggest and brightest young stars in the NHL, and already established himself as a money player.
Netting an impressive 17 points in just 15 postseason games a year ago, Joe Pavelski enjoyed a breakout year in 2009-10. Pavelski became the first player since Mario Lemieux to have three consecutive two-goal games, and tied Patrick Marleau's franchise record five game goal streak.
Against Colorado in the first round, Pavelski potted two game-winning goals in both Game 2 and Game 4 and the series clincher in Game 6. Against the Red Wings in the Western Conference Semi Finals, Pavelski tallied two power play goals in the first two games, and tied a franchise record with four power play tallies in a single round.
Pavelski is back at it again as he had one of the best stretches in franchise history with 33 points in February and March of 2010-11. Did I mention he's also among team leaders in blocked shots and faceoff percentage?
Scoring and being a clutch performer isn't all Pavelski is good for, he's a jack of all trades and master of many for the San Jose Sharks and has fans excited about the future.
Too early you say? I don't think so.
Inside the Numbers: 346 GP, 102 goals, 141 assists, .703 PPG
Memorable Shark Moment: What if "Little Joe" didn't keep coming up big?
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Marco Sturm was selected 21st overall in the NHL Entry Draft in 1996 and quickly became a fan favorite with his speed and tenacity. He began as a center, much like Marleau, but eventually moved to the wing.
Much of Marco's game just cannot be justified by way of stats, because overlooking his defensive awareness and superior penalty killing ability would not do the man's body of work justice. Who knows what could have been if Sturm had not broken his leg in the 2003-04 season?
A versatile player, the German winger helped the Sharks with his quick feet and powerful stride. In his breakout year of 2002-03, Sturm scored 27 goals while adding 28 assists in 82 games.
His Sharks career numbers are impressive with 273 points in 553 career games, and he's still ranked 7th on the all-time Sharks goals scorers.
Known for his two-way play and solid defensive presence, Sturm was traded away in a package deal that brought Joe Thornton to Northern California.
Inside the Numbers: 553 GP, 128 goals, 145 assists, .495 PPG
Why Sturm is placed here: While Marco Sturm was not a flashy player, his longevity, speed and numbers are unquestionable as a Shark.
Once voted Denver's sexiest man, Mike Ricci became an instant fan favorite in San Jose with his tireless work ethic and well-known smile. In his 7 years with San Jose, Ricci connected with fans and although some may say he never realized his true offensive capabilities, fans loved him.
Mike Ricci was an essential part of the Sharks success and contributed to the team making their very first Western Conference Final in 2004.
Gritty, tireless and one of the hardest workers you will ever see in a Sharks sweater, Ricci did whatever it took for a team win. Alongside Niklas Sundstrom and Scott Thornton, Mike Ricci was a jack of all trades and played a committed team game.
Ricci ranks eighth on the Sharks all-time list with 263 points and is third in team history with 59 Stanley Cup playoff games. No stranger to clutch situations, Ricci also ranks fifth with 33 postseason points.
He is currently part of San Jose's Hockey Operations Department, adding to the fantastic stable of ex-player joining the ranks of the front office.
Inside the Numbers: 529 GP, 101 goals, 162 assists, .497 PPG
Why Ricci is placed here: Mike is still one of the most loved Sharks of all time, and his good nature and uncanny humor only make it easier to appreciate his accomplished Sharks career.
"Freezy" carried the hopes and dreams of all Sharks fans in the late 90s, as he burst onto the scene with 15 goals in just 48 games. With the strike shortened season of 1994-95, the 18 year old Jeff Friesen became the first Shark ever to win a postseason award.
As a first round pick in 1994, Freezy ranks fourth in goals scored and assists in franchise history.
He developed quickly and made the best use of his tremendous skating ability, becoming a 30 goal scorer by 1997-98.
On a sad day for all Sharks fans, Jeff Friesen was moved to Anaheim of all places when the Sharks traded for Teemu Selanne. While gambling on Selanne being the difference maker was not foolish on the Sharks behalf, ultimately Friesen ended up stamping his name on the famed chalice with the Devils.
Inside the Numbers: 512 GP, 149 goals, 201 assists, .683 PPG
Why Friesen is placed here: Before Owen Nolan, Jeff Friesen was the face of the San Jose Sharks and gave fans hope during some tough rebuilding years. His place in the franchise scoring records may slide, but in the hearts and minds of many Sharks fans, Friesen lives forever.
During the difficult rebuild in which Dean Lombardi basically imported half of the Kings roster, Friesen was the familiar face that kept fans believing.
Listing Jari Kurri as his NHL idol made a lot of sense for Jonathan Cheechoo, because scoring was something he did a lot of as a Shark. Third in team history with 165 goals, and fifth in total points with 291, he became one of the biggest fan favorites of all time.
From his hard working roots to the rise of his stardom and the subsequent fall from grace, Cheechoo gave it his all no matter what.
Jonathan Cheechoo rode the Rocket Trophy en route to taking the South Bay by storm in 2005-06, posting 56 goals and winning the Richard Trophy for most goals in a season.
His seven year term with the Sharks had fans chanting his name and loving every minute "Cheech" was on the ice. A tireless worker and a player that gave it his all every single night, Cheechoo was the perfect answer to Joe Thornton's passes.
The first player in NHL history since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 to record five or more hat tricks in one season, Cheechoo holds many Sharks franchise scoring records.
Inside the Numbers: 440 GP, 165 goals, 126 assists, .661 PPG
Why Cheechoo is placed here: While injuries have robbed him of what little speed he did have, Cheechoo is still one of the biggest players in team history. His meteoric rise to the top of the NHL was capped with the scoring title and his accomplishments will live on in franchise lore.
Memorable Shark Moment: Cheechoo has many highlight reel goals and clutch performances, but for me a moment in 2008 signified his signature moment as a Shark.
Ron Wilson's 500th victory came February 9th, 2008 in a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators. Thornton, Michalek and Cheechoo would all net three point nights, but Cheech saved the best for last.
To complete the hat trick, Cheechoo took a pass across ice from Michalek and left Nashville defenseman Greg Zanon mesmorized with a 360 spin-o-rama before chipping it home past Chris Mason.
Sandis Ozolinsh is one of the biggest chapters in franchise history, a key catalyst in the 1993-94 campaign, just his second year. Posting 26 goals and 64 points in his sophomore season, Ozolinsh provided mobility and manned a deadly power play en route to the Sharks Cinderella playoff run.
The fact such a young team made such an impression with the efforts of such a young player is a testament to his achievements. No other Shark defender has matched those numbers since then, despite the fact Sandis did not play for San Jose for very long.
After a lengthy holdout saw him suit up a few games for the now defunct IHL San Francisco Spiders, the Sharks traded him to Colorado / Quebec in 1995.
Ozolinsh returned in 2007-08 where he put up 3 goals and 13 assists, with 8 of them in his last 12 games. Dan Boyle is closing in fast on the title of greatest Shark defenseman of all time, but for now Sandis' spot in team history stands alone.
Inside the Numbers: 212 GP, 46 goals, 86 assists, .622 PPG
Why Ozolinsh is placed here: Simply put, he's still the greatest defenseman in Shark history for his performance in the team's third year of existence.
Memorable Shark Moment: While many point to his less than stellar defensive focus, Ozolinsh provided one hell of a save in his second stint with the Sharks.
Coming over to San Jose at the deadline from the Montreal Canadiens, Vincent Damphousse was a stabilizing factor for a team struggling to find it's way.
The Sharks finished that season at 31-33-18 and set the record for fewest goals allowed at 191, and a team goals-against average of 2.28.
Although his numbers may not convey his true impact, Damphousse's arrival marked San Jose's transformation from playoff hopeful to contender.
He tied for the lead in scoring in 2000, and played extremely well in the upset of President's Cup winner St. Louis.
Damphousse ranks fifth all time with 197 assists, and ranks in the top ten in goals and points. Joining the team as a 31 year old, he played 385 games and put up 289 points.
His last year was quite possibly his best when he scored 14 points in just 17 games as the Sharks went to their first Western Conference Finals.
One can only dream of what could have been without the lockout, but that's another story for a different day.
Damphousse ranks fifth among the Sharks all-time setup men (197) and is among the Sharks all-time Top 10 goal scorers (92) and point producers (289). He twice led the club in helpers.
Inside the Numbers: 385 GP, 92 goals, 194 assists, .750 PPG
Why Damphousse is placed here: Damphousse is one of the franchise's very best trades of all time after sending a conditional fifth round pick to Montreal. During his time here, he was nothing but class and played with a poise and leadership.
Memorable Shark Moment: On October 14, 2000, Damphousse recorded his 1,000th career NHL point against Boston.
The original Sharks goaltender, Arturs Irbe is a name that invokes many fond memories of sprawling saves, and huge games.
One of the original 24 imported players acquired from the Minnesota North Stars, "Like Wall" evolved into a fan favorite quickly. He had the first shutout in franchise history on November 17th, 1992, dispatching the Los Angeles Kings 6-0 and stopping 39 shots.
Irbe struggled in his first full NHL season winning just seven of his 33 decisions, but quickly became a franchise icon in the third season of sharks hockey.
After opening the new San Jose Arena, and Kevin Constantine taking the coaching reins from Kingston, Irbe led the Sharks to the biggest turnaround in NHL history.
Finishing 58 points better than the 1992–93 total of 24, Irbe sparked the team to a 33-35-16 record in eighth place finish in the Western Conference.
Irbe and the Sharks led two improbable upsets against Detroit and Calgary, but the giddiness did not last long.
His confidence shaken by the loss of his status as the team's number one goalie, Irbe suffered an injury stemming from a dog bite to his wrist in the offseason. he required delicate surgery to repair the damage done to his hands and left wrist and struggled in 1995-96.
With all due respect to Evgeni, Irbe is still the Sharks goaltender in many minds and hearts of fans in San Jose.
Inside the Numbers: 568 GP, 218 wins, 236 losses, 79 ties, 2.83 GAA, and .899 save percentage
Why Irbe is placed here: The grandfather of Sharks goaltending, Irbe was the finished product of Wayne Thomas and Vasily Tikhonov's coaching and guidance. He brought the Sharks a taste of greatness in just their third year of existence.
What could Larionov done if he played longer? This is a question that many Shark fans ask themselves as Igor logged just two full seasons in San Jose.
Larionov's impact in that short of a time is a testament to his achievements, as he played a huge role in the team's rebound from the 71 loss season.
After jumping out to a 0-8-1 record, a healthy Larionov as well as former USSR linemate Sergei Makarov rallied the club to qualify for the playoffs.
He wasn't done there either as the sharks pulled off the miraculous upset of Detroit in the first round. Larionov led the club with 18 playoff points in the two rounds between Detroit and Toronto and was a wizard on the ice.
Nicknamed "The Professor," his superior vision and passing abilities were a marvel to behold, and the chemistry enjoyed by the "Ov" line was remarkable to say the least. Notching 56 points in 60 games, Igor was the nucleus of the Shark offense.
After being traded to the Detroit Red Wings at the beginning of the 1995-96 season the Sharks promptly missed the playoffs for two consecutive years.
He wasn't done there either, as he helped the Red Wings win three Stanley Cups over six years. Larionov retired with the New Jersey Devils after 2003-04, finishing his NHL career with 644 points in 921 games.
Inside the Numbers: 97 GP, 23 goals, 59 assists, .845 PPG
Why Larionov is placed here: Like all great athletes Larionov had the ability to elevate his game as well as his teammates to a higher level when the stakes were highest.
Owen Nolan didn't need much time to carve out his legacy after being traded to the Sharks in exchange for Sandis Ozolinsh. During a time of great franchise turmoil which included the exit of longtime head coach Kevin Constantine and newly appointed GM Dean Lombardi, Owen was the Sharks.
The rebuilding process was a difficult one as Dean Lombardi secured no fewer than eight seasoned veterans with winning track records, trying to change the organization.
While many veterans such as Kelly Hrudey, Marty McSorley, Tony Granato, and Bernie Nicholls provided instant credibility and locker room leadership. Other moves such as the trade for veteran goalie Ed Belfour and hiring of ex-Anaheim assistant Al Sims flopped horribly.
Yet another transitional period as Darryl Sutter was brought aboard, and another flux of veterans headlined by such names as Murray Craven and Stephane Matteau continued to bolster depth.
Through it all, Owen was the one staple fans could fall back on and along with Jeff Friesen gave them hope as well.
The 1997-98 season proved to be a success as the Sharks won a then-franchise high 34 games and return to the playoffs after a two-year hiatus.
Owen's finest season came in 1999–00 as his 44 goals were topped only by Pavel Bure's 58 but San Jose did not nail down a playoff berth until the final week of the season leading to their fateful matchup against the St. Louis Blues.
Injuries, locker room turmoil and rumors of Owen's unhappiness led to a accelerated fall from grace for the Sharks captain.
In one of the darkest days in franchise history, Owen Nolan was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 5, 2003.
Inside the Numbers: 568 GP, 206 goals, 245 assists, .798 PPG
Why Nolan is placed here: For many fans, Owen Nolan still brings back warm memories and classic performances that reminds fans why they fell in love with the Sharks. He's not only the prototypical franchise power forward, they broke the mold when they made him.
Physical, angry, determined and leadership are all words that come to mind when invoking Owen Nolan's memories as a Shark.
Memorable Shark Moment: Being a huge fan of Buster, I had a difficult time trying to nail down his signature moment. His "called-shot" in the 1997 All-Star Game certainly deserves it's merit, especially because Hasek continually denied Nolan the hat trick on four previous shots.
But it's still an All-Star game, and Joe Sakic being an ex-teammate doesn't hurt either, but the Shark tank went absolutely berzerk after that goal.
Much respect goes out to Blades of Teal, who reminded me of one of the most gratifying checks in San Jose Shark history when Owen checked Ed Belfour in the 1997-98 playoffs.
Classic stuff, got to love how Ludwig hides behind the refs after Nolan gets to his feet.
There was no bigger story in the 2000-01 season than the emergence of Evgeni "John" Nabokov who took the NHL by storm.
Finishing the year among the NHL leaders with 32 wins, seven shutouts and a 2.17 goals against average, Nabby took home the Calder for rookie honors, and finished fourth in the Vezina voting.
His career is earmarked by a holdout in the 2002-2003 season that led to Darryl Sutter's dismissal as head coach of the Sharks. That season also marked the first time in six years the team had taken a step backward, slipping back to 28 wins and just 73 points.
Nabokov got better with age, and had a terrific year in the 2009-2010 season putting up 44 wins and a .922 save percentage all while logging more than 4,000 minutes.
Nabokov also became only the second goaltender in NHL history to record three consecutive 40-win seasons. Nabby also sits above Frank Brimsek for 36th place on the all-time NHL wins list.
He holds multiple franchise records, including setting the bar for an individual shutout streak that spanned 170:58 for the better part of 2 weeks in Jan 2009.
Nabokov was not re-signed after the Sharks were swept out of the 2009-2010 Western Conference Finals against the eventual champion Blackhawks.
His story is one of unfulfilled redemption, but ultimately Nabokov just couldn't outperform the other goalie when it counted most.
Inside the Numbers: 563 GP, 293 wins, 178 losses, 29 ties, 2.39 GAA, and .912 save percentage.
Why Nabokov is placed here: While Nabby has his detractors, you simply cannot deny the man was a rock between the pipes for the better part of a decade. One has to wonder how much more he could have accomplished had he been given a chance sooner considering he joined the team in 1997.
Jumbo Joe has transformed the Bay Area and the Sharks since his arrival in 2005, and his performance in teal has been nothing short of dominant. He's put up numbers that rank him amongst the best in the NHL, and elevated the status of the franchise.
Ever since setting foot in Northern California, Thornton made an immediate impact with the Sharks, setting a franchise record by recording six consecutive multi-point games.
Although he's not the greatest Shark of all time, he's certainly done a great job in an extremely short period of time.
Capturing a Hart Trophy for MVP in his first year here, he's the only Shark to have accomplished this feat. He's also the only Shark to ever crack the 100 point barrier, setting the single season mark with 114. He's second on the all-time points list with 545 points and led the club in scoring each complete season in San Jose.
He's also been extremely durable, skating through checks, sticks and opponents for 379 consecutive games. Jumbo is the top point getter in the NHL since the lockout not named Ovechkin or Crosby with 578 points, with a relatively affordable cap hit.
Thornton has done all of this, with his easy-going nature and disarming smile in just five years. It's only a matter of time before he eclipses every single Shark record and sets the bar at a near impossible level.
He's just one assist away from joining Doug Gilmour and Steve Yzerman as the only players to have eight 20-goal, 50-assist seasons in a row.
Since entering the NHL in 1997-1998, Joe Thornton is also the best point producer not named Jaromir Jagr.
While some detractors want to point to his lower output this year, one has to account for the development of defensive side of his game. His new dedication may be coming at a cost of his offensive numbers, but is resulting in better team play.
Like many NHL superstars that have fallen short of the ultimate goal, Joe is not satisfied being a one-way dynamo. The Sharks are hoping that like those other examples, the new dedication to the system and team play will bring home a championship.
Inside the Numbers: 461 GP, 136 goals, 409 assists, 1.182 PPG
Why Thornton is placed here: Joe Thornton the Shark has been nothing short of spectacular, his impact and presence undeniable. A simple look back at this list and the many players that have benefited from playing alongside the big man tells exactly how valuable he has been.
With all due respect to Patrick Marleau, Joe's been the greatest player for San Jose since the trade that brought him to California.
Memorable Shark Moment : Bringing the Stanley Cup home in the 20XX NHL Season.
The best franchise player in team history was selected second overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, and 13 years later, is getting better with age.
Although he's listed here as a center, two of his best years from a goal scoring perspective came when he was flanked at wing.
Serving as team captain from 2004-2009, Marleau has led both on and off the ice, and may be putting together the finest season in his tremendous Shark career.
Scoring 38 goals in 2008-09 and posting a career high of 44 a year ago, tying Owen Nolan for the second-highest single season output. He owns virtually every scoring statistic in franchise history, and leads the organization with 764 points in 1,033 games.
Just 30 years old, Patrick Marleau shows no signs of slowing and is still among the fastest Sharks of all time. Still as explosive and dangerous as ever, Marleau became the fastest Sharks player to reach 30 goals in a season, passing Cheechoo in 2009-10.
Bringing home gold for Team Canada a year ago, and making it to the Western Conference Finals has brought Patrick Marleau to a new level this year.
His clutch play has been a hallmark of the Shark season, and bodes well for San Jose in the playoffs as they currently sit in the 2nd seed. He is and has been Captain Clutch for the Sharks, and is back to his tricks in 2010-11, leading some to believe that this is finally their year.
Inside the Numbers: 1033 GP, 357 goals, 407 assists, .739 PPG
Why Marleau is placed here: While Patrick Marleau has his share of critics, his stature within the organization is undeniable. Speak of his stripped captaincy or perceived playoff failures if you wish, but the man is on a mission to prove his doubters wrong, and just may be vindicated in 2010-11.
Memorable Shark Moment: Bringing the Stanley Cup home in the 20XX NHL Season.