This is the second in a series of articles asking fans to vote on the best Sharks player at each position as the club enters its 20th year. Today it’s all about the left wingers. (Note that players must have spent two years with the Sharks organization and two years in the designated position to be considered. No player was placed in multiple positions.) Owen Nolan ran away with the voting for the right wing spot.
PATRICK MARLEAU (953 GP, 320 G, 373 A, 693 PTS, 325 PIM)
This was a tricky situation as this was a player who could have been listed in both the left wing and center category. Patrick Marleau
played most of his career around the faceoff dots, but when you talk about his two most productive years, from a goal scoring perspective, it clearly would be the last two where he primarily played the on the wing.
He scored 38 goals in 2008-09 and then his 44 goals last year tied Owen Nolan for the second highest single season total in franchise history. He has 154 points the last two years which are eye-popping totals. Since we’re talking about his time on the left wing, we’ll exclude the fact that Marleau owns virtually every offensive mark in Sharks history (but we did just mention it).
In 2008-09 he earned an All-Star Game berth, but last year he was awarded a higher honor when he was selected to represent Team Canada and he helped them win gold at the 2010 Olympics. There will be no way to ever officially make the call here, but even at 30, Marleau is still the fastest skater to don the teal.JEFF FRIESEN (893 GP, 218 G, 298 A, 516 PTS, 488 PIM)
For a couple of years prior to Nolan’s arrival, Friesen carried the hopes of Sharks fans on his shoulders. He burst onto the NHL scene with 15 goals in a labor shortened 48 game rookie season. By 1997-98 he had developed into a 30 goal scorer. A first round pick in 1994, he is simply the highest scoring Sharks player at the left wing position (not counting Marleau’s time at center), ranking fourth among everyone with 149 goals.
Friesen was moved to Anaheim when the Sharks acquired Teemu Selanne in their first major effort to win the Stanley Cup, but it was Friesen who ended up with the silver chalice above his head when help New Jersey win the title. MARCO STURM (553 GP, 128 G, 145 A, 273 PTS, 242 PIM)
Sturm broke in with the Sharks as a quiet, unassuming rookie and immediately became a lineup regular. He began as a center, much like Marleau, but eventually moved to the wing. A strong two-way forward right from the start, Sturm’s offensive side quickly developed and he once tied for the team lead with 28 goals.
Sturm still ranks in the top five all-time in goals (128) and the top 10 in assists (145) and points (273). He is also third all-time in game-winning goals (27) and tied for first in shorthanded goals (14). Some of his best attributes, like his penalty killing ability and his defensive awareness just can’t be expressed by the stat sheet. Many still feel had Sturm not suffered the difficult leg break in the 2003-04 season, that San Jose might have found their way to their first Stanley Cup Final.
MILAN MICHALEK (317 GP, 91 G, 123A, 214 PTS, 184 PIM)
Michalek is now playing in Ottawa, but he served time on the Sharks top for a time and left among the Sharks Top 10 point producers. His speed was undeniable and deftness with the puck made him fun to watch.
Others who came close were Ryane Clowe
, and he could alter his position by the conclusion of the 20th season, and Scott Thornton. Vote for your favorite online or at Facebook.