San Jose Sharks forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have a chance to join a few exclusive groups if they can win the 2016 Stanley Cup.
The Sharks play either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday. San Jose defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-2 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on Wednesday to reach the Cup Final for the first time.
Thornton and Marleau were the first two picks of the 1997 NHL Draft, and have been teammates since Thornton was traded to the Sharks by the Boston Bruins on Nov. 30, 2005.
The first and second picks in the same draft have gone on to become NHL teammates nine times. But if Thornton and Marleau win the Stanley Cup they will become the second set of top-two drafted players to win it as teammates. Rejean Houle and Marc Tardif, the first two picks of the 1969 draft, won the Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1971 and 1973.
Thornton and Marleau winning the Cup also would mark the fourth time the first and second picks of a draft have won it with any teams. In addition to Houle and Tardif, it was accomplished by the first two picks of the 1984 draft, Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins, 1991-92) and Kirk Muller (Montreal Canadiens, 1993), and the first two picks of the 2003 draft, Marc-Andre Fleury (Penguins, 2009) and Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes, 2006).
If Thornton wins the Cup he would be the 14th player picked No. 1 in the draft to do so, following Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks, 2010, 2013, 2015), Sidney Crosby (Penguins, 2008), Fleury, Vincent Lecavalier (Tampa Bay Lightning, 2004), Mike Modano (Dallas Stars, 1999), Joe Murphy (Edmonton Oilers, 1990), Lemieux, Bobby Smith (Montreal Canadiens, 1986), Rob Ramage (Calgary Flames, 1989; Canadiens, 1993); Rick Green (Canadiens, 1986), Denis Potvin (New York Islanders, 1980-84), Guy Lafleur (Canadiens, 1973, 1976-79) and Houle.
Thornton and Marleau also will become the sixth and seventh players of the 26 picked in the first round of the 1997 draft to reach the Cup Final.
Previously playing for the Cup were: No. 4 pick Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks, 2011), No. 8 Sergei Samsonov (Oilers, 2006), No. 12 Marian Hossa (Penguins, 2008; Detroit Red Wings, 2009; Blackhawks, 2010, 2013, 2015); No. 13 Daniel Cleary (Red Wings, 2008, 2009), and No. 25 Brenden Morrow (Stars, 2000; Lightning, 2015).
Of that group, Hossa (2010, 2013, 2015), and Cleary (2008) won the Cup.