Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All time best Sharks A-Z

As I sit here, wondering whether I should be excited or scared about the upcoming Sharks season, I decided that it would be fun to go back through the all time Sharks roster as we go into the 20th season and pick out the best of the alphabet, A-Z. Without further ado, here we go...


LW Perry Anderson - OK, there weren't a lot of A Sharks (a trend I'm sure will repeat itself), but this one does stand out a bit. Anderson was one of the original, Cow Palace Sharks. Those brave souls that went through the years in Daly City will always have a special place in this Sharks fan's heart.


D Rob Blake - With Jamie Baker, Dan Boyle, and Brian Boucher on this list, it was hard to pick out just one. While all of those guys did have huge contributions to the Sharks, but no one person had a bigger positive impact on the Sharks than Mr. Blake.


RW Jonathan Cheechoo - Lauded for not living up to the hype after his Rocket Trophy winning season, Cheechoo still played a big role for a few seasons before being dealt to the Senators.


C Vincent Damphousse - A key cog in the early 2000's Sharks teams. Damphousse was the quiet leader of the Sharks and will always be linked to the teams of the 2000's.


LW Bob Errey - As tempting as it was to select Christian Ehrhoff, Errey brought a valuable veteran presence to the early days of the Sharks, Playing 64 games during the 93-94 season.


LW Jeff Friesen - Another Shark that, although a good player, never lived up to the potential that he had. Still, he was a solid Shark and the best of the 'F' group.


RW Tony Granato - Although past his prime when he joined the Sharks and a huge question mark coming off a potential life threatening injury, Granato was the first Shark to bring home an NHL award (96-97 Masterson).


RW Dany Heatley - My own personal feelings aside, Heatley has stood over and above every other 'H' Shark, with the possible exception of Scott Hannan. In his short time with the Sharks, Heatley has left an indelible mark on the history of San Jose hockey.


G Arturs Irbe - Despite there being a scant 3 names on the 'I' list, this one is a no-brainer. Irbe still holds the Sharks team record for most minutes played by a goaltender in a season and was a big part of the Sharks early success.


D Derek Joslin - Another short list, I chose the player that still has his potential ahead of him. Joslin looks to play a big role in future Sharks season, including this year.


C Viktor Kozlov - Another name that had a huge role in shaping the face of the Sharks early days. While overshadowed by his fellow Russian teammates, Kozlov's 41 points in 96-97 are not to be overlooked.


C Igor Larionov - Another one of the early 90's Russian Invasion members to find his way to San Jose. A solid +20 in the 93-94 regular season and a respectable 18 points in the playoffs.


LW Patrick Marleau - With apologies to Brantt Myhers and in spite of his recent difficulties, Marleau is still one of the best Sharks in the M class.


G Evgeni Nabokov - A hard list to be sure, but the nod has to go to Nabokov. Nobody had a bigger impact for longer than Nabby did. Forced into a starting role due to injury, Nabokov took the Sharks, placed them on his back, and never looked back.


D Sandis Ozolinsh - Few players had a bigger impact on the Sharks during his tenure, even less on the blueline. One of the Sharks first offensive defensemen, Ozolinsh left his mark.


C Joe Pavelski - The newest member to the 'P' list is by far the best. 'Little Joe' (a nickname that needs to go, by the way) has shown that he will have a long and productive NHL career. Let's hope most of it is in teal.


LW Jean-Francois Quintin - Yea, he's the default winner here, with a whopping 22 games in teal. Still, anyone that had to endure the Cow Palace stairs to and from the locker room deserves a mention in a best list.


(tie) D's Marcus Ragnarsson and Mike Rathje - Hands down the most important and dynamic defensive pairing the Sharks had during the late 90's, 'Rags' and 'Rat' were often tasked with the difficult task of defending the opponents top guys. A task at which they excelled.


D Gary Suter - Suter wins out by a hair, owing mostly to the fact that Teemu Selane's Sharks tenure wasn't as productive as Sharks management and fans would have hoped. Suter was another stalwart on defense for the early 2000's Sharks.


C Joe Thornton - What else is there to say? Thornton is one of the two or three Sharks that are responsible for their current success.




D Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Another hard choice on a short list, I gave the nod to 'Pickles' for the fact that we have yet to see his best play. Despite being limited to 64 games last season, Vlasic still managed to post a career best +21.


LW Ray Whitney - One of the Sharks first true star players, Whitney was one of the leaders behind the Sharks improbable playoff runs in the mid 90's.




RW Alexi Yegorov - Another winner by default, Yegorov had a cup of coffee with the Sharks in both the 95-96 and 96-97 seasons.


D Rob Zettler - Another Cow Palace Shark, Zettler is probably better known for his time behind the bench than on it.

The above opinions are those of the author and are in no way intended to be a complete statistical breakdown. Also, the players time as a Shark is the only part of their career that is used in the determination of inclusion on this list.

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