San Jose Sharks Draft: Top Five Picks In Franchise History


Feb 4, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 NHL Draft is just hours away so why not prepare for what’s about to come with a look back at the top five draft picks in San Jose Sharks history. Like all franchises, there have been plenty of hits and misses along the way, but these five players stood out when looking at how the Sharks have drafted throughout the years.

5. Jeff Friesen (Round 1, Pick 11, 1994)

Friesen was San Jose’s first round pick back in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft and the Sharks wasted little time in inserting him into the lineup. Friesen made his debut that same year and posted 15 goals and 10 assists, while finishing fourth in the Calder voting for rookie of the year.

Friesen would go to play six-and-a-half seasons (512 games) in San Jose and was a fan favorite. His speed was his best asset as he would go on to score 149 goals and 201 assists during his time with the Sharks, adding five goals and 10 assists in 34 playoff games.

Friesen’s time in San Jose would come to an end as he was part of the trade package to the Anaheim Ducks that brought Teemu Selanne to the Bay Area. Friesen would go on to win the Stanley Cup as a member of the New Jersey Devils in 2003.

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4. Joe Pavelski (Round 7, Pick 205, 2003)

When all is said and done, Pavelski could continue to climb up this list; however, he’s still has lots of hockey ahead of him at this point in time. Pavelski, a seventh-round pick out of the University of Wisconsin, has developed into a solid, two-way player for the Sharks.

While not the biggest player at just under six feet, Pavelski is a smart, instinctive player who has found a nice chemistry alongside Joe Thornton of late. He led San Jose a season ago with 37 goals and 70 points while being a plus-12 overall. What makes Pavelski special is he can play anywhere within the lineup. He can center his own line, produce on the power play or play the wing. It doesn’t matter, all he does is score.

He made his NHL debut during the 2006-07 season at the age of 22, and not only has he been a consistent regular season scorer, he’s produced in the playoffs as well. In 643 games (all with the Sharks), Pavelski has 228 goals and 257 assists while being a plus-76. During the postseason, Pavelski has added 26 goals and 30 assists in 81 games, including three overtime winners.

Needless to say, Pavelski has been a diamond in the rough for San Jose.

3. Marc-Edouard Vlasic (Round 2, Pick 35, 2005)

Vlasic was taken in the second round back in 2005 and didn’t have to wait long before making his NHL debut. Vlasic made the Sharks out of training camp back in 2006 and has been a mainstay on the San Jose blue line ever since. He debuted at the young age of 19 and has since developed into one of the top shutdown defensemen in the league.

Vlasic, still just 28 years old, has already made 670 appearances for the Sharks and there’s plenty more to come. Vlasic has posted just one minus season during his career, during his sophomore campaign, but for his career, he’s a plus-110. He scored a career-high nine goals this past season and was the only bright spot for a San Jose defensive corps that struggled mightily.

Vlasic has 39 goals and 148 assists, while adding two goals and 12 assists in 84 playoff games. He’s been a great find and has been a steadying force for a Sharks franchise that has struggled to develop defensemen.

2. Evgeni Nabokov (Round 9, Pick 219, 1994)

This is perhaps the best value pick in Sharks’ history as Nabokov developed into the best goaltender in franchise history. He holds pretty much every record for goalies in San Jose, leading the franchise in games played (563), wins (293) and shutouts (50).

It took Nabokov quite a few years to develop in the American Hockey League (AHL) before breaking through in the NHL with the Sharks in 1999-2000. He would appear in 11 games that year, but his real impact would come the following year when Nabokov would take home the Calder Trophy after posting a record of 32-21-7 with a 2.19 goals-against-average (GAA) and a .915 save percentage.

Nabokov would go on to play 10 seasons in teal and was one of the most popular Sharks of all-time. He posted a 293-178-66 record with a 2.39 GAA and a .912 save percentage. It was quite a career for the ninth round pick who retired as a Shark earlier this year. It’d be tough to find a more competitive person than Nabokov who proved all the doubters wrong with his play.

1. Patrick Marleau (Round 1, Pick 2, 1997)

This one is fairly easy as Marleau has been the face of the Sharks since he joined the organization with the second overall pick back in 1997. He’s played his entire 17-year career in San Jose, holding all sorts of franchise records.

Marleau is the franchise leader in games played (1,329), goals (456), game-winning goals (87) and points (988). It’s been a remarkable career for Marleau who was thrust right into the lineup at 18-years-old back in the 1997-98 season. While Marleau has been an easy target from media and fans for the Sharks failures of the past, he’s been one of the best players San Jose has ever developed.

Marleau’s speed and skating ability has always been his strongest asset, to go along with a quick release. He’s still a productive player today at age 35, but he could still play another four or five years. He’s been healthy throughout much of his career, as the fewest games that he’s played in a season came during his rookie season when he played 74 games.

During the playoffs, Marleau has been there for San Jose time and again with 60 goals and 43 assists in 147 career postseason games. Marleau will always be remembered in the Bay Area and he’s been the Sharks best draft pick in franchise history.

Stay tuned for full coverage of the 2015 NHL Draft tonight to see who the Sharks will add to their organization.

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