After the game against the Seattle Kraken, head coach David Quinn suggested that long-time San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame when his career is over. This has since sparked a debate, is the San Jose Sharks iconic shutdown defenseman bound for immoralization in Toronto? Well, there is a case for and against it, but there are a lot of people with an opinion about Pickles and what awaits him when he hangs up the skates.
If you are new to hockey or are newer to the San Jose Sharks fanbase, you will see the withered shell Vlasic is of his former self and think that any conversation about immortalization in Toronto is beyond the bounds of possibility. However, it's not as farfetched as some people would think. Marc-Edouard Vlasic used to be a true unicorn in the NHL, and was beloved by fans and media around the two nations for his personality and playing style.
Back in the early 2010s, Vlasic was the best shutdown defenseman in the NHL by a large margin. He was so dominant, and his firey personality summed up the way he played the game. Always feeling he was underrated, he had this air of arrogance about him in a good way that drove him and motivated him to play at an even higher standard than the one he was already at. It was something the Sharks needed from their stay-at-home defenseman.
When he was then put next to an offensive dynamo in Brent Burns, Vlasic offered a completely new dynamic to a team that needed it. Even now, at the ripe age of 36, the Montreal native is still above average in the defensive zone. The problem with pickles is his contract, because he makes $7 million in a buyout proof deal that is loaded with signing bonus. It's a difficult contract to move, making him a Shark for the foreseeable future.
Now, as the Sharks start to transition into a new core, he's being force into the pressbox. But the dominant force he was once upon a time has not been lost to time. He made the 2006-07 all-rookie team and has been both a regular in Lady Byng and Norris, voting for the most part of his career. A gentlemanly player, and a player that will have his number 44 immortalized by the Sharks when he does step away from hockey.
His 1268 career NHL games is an unbelieveable total in its own right, but he's only got 82 goals and 268 assists. Those are not hockey Hall of Fame numbers for most players. What Vlasic has going for him is that he became a unicorn of a defensive defenseman at the NHL level. Will that eventually get him into the hall? I strongly doubt it, but never say never. He was an excellent defenseman at his peak, but physical decline waits for no one.