San Jose Sharks: Examining the Top 13 Scorers in Franchise History

MJ Kasprzak@BayAreaCheezhedSenior Writer IIOctober 12, 2011

San Jose Sharks: Examining the Top 13 Scorers in Franchise History

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    The San Jose Sharks have begun their 2011-12 season with high expectations. That has been the standard since Doug Wilson arrived before the 2003-04 season.

    The Sharks have won four consecutive Pacific Division titles and five in the seven seasons with Wilson as General Manager. They have been to the playoffs as at least a fifth seed in all seven, made the second round in six and been to three conference finals, including the last two.

    One of the main reasons is the Sharks have elite scorers. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Martin Havlat, Joe Pavelski, Ryane Clowe, Dan Boyle and Brent Burns can all be counted on to score more than a point per two games. Between those eight players, an average of six points per night and more than two goals will be generated.

    Even before the Doug Wilson years, the Sharks were a consistent team. Over 20 seasons, they have made the playoffs 15 times. Considering the Sharks have eight appearances in the nine seasons that the league has been at its current 30 team-size and only 53.3 percent of teams qualify for the postseason, that is a high success rate.

    How have the Sharks done it? They have had scorers.

    No matter what anyone tells you, scoring wins. The perception is that defence wins championships, but there are more goals scored on average during the playoffs than the regular season after the lockout. Moreover, every conference champion but Edmonton in the first post-lockout season has been in the top 10 going into the playoffs.

    That is why you will see that many of the leading Sharks scorers of all-time have been on the team during their most successful seasons. Considering this fact, a list of the top 13 scorers in franchise history might be boring and easily accessible information—it would start with Patrick Marleau at 768 and end with Pat Falloon at 162.

    Instead, this list will factor in supporting cast and position that might inhibit scoring. It also gives preference to points over career points and goals over assists.

    Total scoring will still count for something—everyone on this list was top 25 all-time in scoring. But the bigger factor is points per game, as everyone scored about two per three.

1. Joe Thornton

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    Since coming to the Sharks, Joe Thornton is king.

    He finished 2006 with 125 points (92 in the 58 games as a Shark) and is the only player in franchise history to average over a point a game in teal. This more than compensates for any extra weight given to goals over assists.

    Thornton has played in 464 games as a Shark, with 137 goals and 410 assists for 1.179 points per game.

2. Dany Heatley

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    Yes, Dany Heatley did not live up to expectations. Yes, he scored only about a point per two games in the playoffs.

    But in the two seasons he was with the Sharks, no one lit the lamp like the Heater. He had 65 goals in 162 games and added a respectable 81 assists for a the second best production in franchise history at .901 points per game.

3. Owen Nolan

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    Perhaps the Sharks first real star, Owen Nolan gave the team a physical edge while still providing scoring.

    Nolan played in 568 games as a Shark, scoring 206 goals and assisting on 245 more. His .794 points per game in teal ranks third in franchise history, and he scored big goals for the team as well as accruing stats.

4. Patrick Marleau

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    No one has scored more goals in a Sharks uniform than Patrick Marleau's 357. No one has registered more assists than Marleau's 411, with his two helpers on Saturday night moving him past Joe Thornton.

    Then again, Marleau has played more than half as many games as any other player in franchise history. His .741 points per game ranks just sixth, but considering his start with the team as a rookie and the number of big goals over his time here, he belongs fourth overall.

5. Vincent Damphousse

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    Vinny Damphousse was near the end of his career by the time he arrived in San Jose. The Sharks were an afterthought around the league at the time, and he was instrumental in changing that.

    Damphousse scored 92 goals and 197 assists in 389 games as a Shark. His .751 points per game ranks fourth in team history, and he helped the team win its first Pacific Division title.

6. Teemu Selanne

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    The Finnish Flash broke into the league with the last incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets and scored 76 goals to claim the Calder Trophy. It was all downhill from there, but he has still scored at least 40 goals five times.

    Coming to San Jose as a trade deadline addition in 2001, Teemu Selanne played two full seasons with the team after that. While he never scored 40 goals or had 70 points, he did put up 63 and 67, respectively, over his 176 games. His .744 points per game in teal was good for fifth in franchise history.

7. Dan Boyle

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    No Sharks defenceman has scored as prodigiously as Dan Boyle.

    While 26 players have scored more goals with the Sharks than Boyle's 40, the difficulty in scoring goals from the blue line plays into his placement on this list. In just 230 games with the team, he is already 12th in franchise history in helpers with 126, and his .722 points per game is good for seventh in team history.

8: Joe Pavelski

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    How appropriate that the player who wears No. 8 finishes in that spot on this list. Not only has Little Joe been big for this team offensively, but he remains one of the most solid defenders at forward.

    Joe Pavelski has played 350 games as a member of the San Jose Sharks, scoring 105 regular season goals and registering 141 assists. That gives him just over seven points per 10 games for his career, good for ninth in franchise history.

9. Johan Garpenlov

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    Johan Garpenlov was an original member of the San Jose Sharks in 1991-92 and was traded during the strike-shortened season of 1993-94. But he was the team's most prolific scorer until he left.

    While Garp had just 46 goals and 86 assists over 184 games, his .717 points per game are eighth best in team history. That he also put up those points when he was vastly out-manned (the Sharks carried a point percentage of only about .300 during his tenure) makes them all the more impressive.

10. Jeff Friesen

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    Jeff Friesen and Ray Whitney were the Sharks' best early homegrown talents, with Friesen coming along just before the team's fourth season. He makes the list where Whitney does not because he spent more time in San Jose.

    Freeze played an impressive 512 games as a Shark and lit the lamp 149 times. Added to the 201 assists he had, and he had .684 points per game with the team, good for 10th in franchise history.

11. Jonathan Cheechoo

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    Yes, Jonathan Cheechoo scored over a third of his goals in one season. But even without his Richard Trophy-winning season, Cheech lit the lamp 109 times in 358 games.

    Overall, he played in 440 games for the Sharks, scoring 165 goals and adding 126 assists. He is top-13 in games played, goals, assists and points per game at .661.

12. Ryane Clowe

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    Ryane Clowe started out as a physical enforcer-type. He has developed into the kind of player who scores gritty goals near the net you need, fights hard along the boards and still has the skill to thread passes to his linemates.

    In 320 games as a Shark, Clowe has 85 goals, 131 assists and .675 points per game, good for 12th in team history.

13. Milan Michalek

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    Milan Michalek was a talented winger who suffered a major knee injury in his first year with the team. Still, he recovered just well enough to make the last slide on this list.

    Michalek benefited from playing on a line with the top scorer in franchise history, Patrick Marleau, and later with the most productive player ever in Joe Thornton. But scoring 91 goals and 123 assists over 317 games (.675 points per game) with the team is still good enough for 11th (one per 10,000 better than Clowe).