Selected with the 30th overall pick in the second round of the 1991 NHL draft, Sandis Ozolins was the second-ever San Jose Sharks draft pick, following Pat Falloon. The offensive defenseman made his Sharks debut in the 1992-1993 season – just the second in the Sharks’ existence – and posted 23 points in his rookie campaign.
In his second year, Ozolins skipped the sophomore slump as he posted 26G 38A for 64 points in 81 games, leading the league in goals by a defenseman. He would only play one more season before being traded 7 games into the 1995-1996 season to the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche franchise in exchange for Owen Nolan.
Ozolins would go on to win a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in his first year, as well as being a seven-time All-Star and a Norris Trophy finalist.
Ozolins was arrested for drunk driving and had to go through the league’s substance abuse program, however he recovered and signed a contract with the San Jose Sharks – his first NHL team – for the 2007-2008 season. He would post 16 points in 39 games in this final NHL season.
After declining a contract offer from the Los Angeles Kings and choosing not to play anywhere in 08-09, Ozolins signed a contract with Dinamo Riga of the KHL for the 2009-2010 season. He was named captain of the club and has played four of his five KHL seasons so far with Dinamo, having scored at least 20 points annually. He currently plays next to former NHL player Marcel Hossa, and he has been named to the 2014 KHL All-Star game where he will play with former Sharks star Jonathan Cheechoo. He will also participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, having recently been named to Team Latvia.