Top 10 Best San Jose Sharks Players of All Time

Top 10 Best San Jose Sharks Players of All Time

The San Jose Sharks entered the National Hockey League prior to the 1991-92 season. The franchise has consistently made the playoffs since joining the NHL, including in just their third season and a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2016. San Jose has had many great hockey players come through the organization. Who are some of the best to wear a Sharks jersey?

Who Are the Best San Jose Sharks Hockey Players of All Time?

  1. Patrick Marleau
  2. Joe Thornton
  3. Evgeni Nabokov
  4. Brent Burns
  5. Joe Pavelski
  6. Marc-Édouard Vlasic
  7. Logan Couture
  8. Antii Niemi
  9. Dan Boyle
  10. Owen Nolan

1. Patrick Marleau

  • Most games in Sharks history
  • Most goals in Sharks history
  • Most points in Sharks history

Patrick Marleau was selected with the second overall pick in the 1997 NHL draft by the San Jose Sharks. The center played 21 seasons with the franchise and has the most point shares in team history with 125.9. Marleau put up 32 points in his rookie campaign in 1997-98. He put up between 40 and 60 points for the following few seasons before breaking out in 2005-06. The center set career-highs with 52 assists and 86 points during that campaign. Marleau scored a personal record, 44 goals, during the 2009-10 season on his way to 83 points.

Marleau played for San Jose for 19 seasons before signing with Toronto in free agency. The former captain came back for parts of two more seasons to close out his career. The center leads the Sharks with 1,607 games played, 522 goals, 1,111 points, and 3,953 shots. Marleau also ranks among some of the best in many other categories for San Jose.

2. Joe Thornton

  • 2006-06 Hart Trophy winner
  • Most assists in Sharks history
  • Second-most points in Sharks history

Joe Thornton was drafted with the first overall pick in the 1997 NHL draft by the Bruins. After seven full seasons in Boston, the center was traded to San Jose at the 2005-06 trade deadline. Thornton has 111.5 point shares over the 15 seasons he played with the Sharks. After having 33 points in 23 games prior to the trade, Thornton had 92 points in 58 games with San Jose, which earned him the Hart Trophy Award.

The center continued his great play the following season, as he led the league with 114 points. That is also the most by any Shark in a single season in franchise history. The center had his largest goal total with the team in 2007-08, as he scored 29 goals on the way to his third straight season leading the NHL in assists. Thornton averaged nearly a point per game for the following few seasons before his production started to fall off. His last season for the franchise was 2019-20, when the center had 31 points. The four-year captain leads the franchise with 804 assists and a plus/minus of 161. Thornton is also second in team history with 1,055 points.

3. Evgeni Nabokov

  • Most wins in Sharks history
  • Most saves in Sharks history
  • 2000-01 Calder Trophy

Evgeni Nabokov was selected in the ninth round of the 1994 NHL draft by the San Jose Sharks. Nabokov has the highest point shares of any goalie to ever play for the franchise, with 97.7 over his ten seasons with the team. The goalie got his first taste of the NHL in 1990-00 but won 32 games the following season while posting a .915 save percentage in 66 games. Those numbers earned Nabokov the Calder Trophy that season.

The goalie finished fourth in Vezina Trophy voting during his first two seasons in the league. He finished as high as second for the award in 2007-08 as Nabokov led the league with 46 wins. That was the first of three straight seasons that Nabokov had 40 or more wins for the Sharks. The goalie had a career-best .922 save percentage during his final season with the team in 2009-10. Nabokov holds many Sharks records, including the most games played in net with 563, the most wins with 293, and the most total saves with 13,463.

4. Brent Burns

  • 2016-17 Norris Trophy winner
  • Most points by a defenseman in Sharks history
  • Third most assists in Sharks history

Brent Burns was originally drafted as a forward in the first round of the 2003 NHL draft by the Wild. The defenseman was traded from Minnesota to San Jose prior to the 2011-12 season. Burns has the most point shares for a defenseman in Sharks history as he racked up 97.1 over his eleven-year career with the team. Burns had 37 points in his first season with the organization, and by 2014-15, he had cracked the 60-point mark.

The Shark finished third in the 2015-16 Norris voting after putting up 75 points. Burns won the award the following season with a career-high 29 goals, and he led the league with 320 shots. He also set career-highs with 67 assists and 83 points in 2018-19 while finishing second for the Norris Trophy. Burns played his last season for San Jose in 2021-22 before being traded to Carolina. Burns’ 422 assists is the third most by any player in franchise history. He also has the most points by a defenseman in team history, with 594.

5. Joe Pavelski

  • Third most points in Sharks history
  • Second most goals in Sharks history
  • Fourth most assists in Sharks history

Joe Pavelski was drafted in the seventh round of the 2003 NHL draft by the San Jose Sharks. Pavelski played in 13 seasons with the Sharks and totaled 95 point shares. The center scored 28 points during his rookie campaign in 2006-07. The 46 assists Pavelski had in 2010-11 are the most he put up in his tenure with the franchise. The center had 31 goals and 30 assists the following year to give him back-to-back 60-point seasons. Pavelski scored a career-high 41 goals in 2013-14 and tallied 79 points to finish seventh in the Hart Trophy voting.

The center had six straight seasons of 60 or more points to close out his Sharks career. He signed with the Stars as a free agent following the 2018-19 campaign. Pavelski is in the top ten of many offensive categories for the organization. His 355 goals place him second in team history. He also ranks third in points with 761 and fourth in assists with 406.

6. Marc-Édouard Vlasic

  • Second most games played in Sharks history
  • Second most points by a defenseman in Sharks history
  • 2006-07 All-Rookie

Marc-Édouard Vlasic was drafted in the second round of the 2005 NHL draft by the San Jose Sharks. Vlasic has the second-most point shares in franchise history with 83.3 over his 17 seasons with the team. Vlasic is more known as a defensive defenseman in the NHL. He was named to the All-Rookie team in 2006-07 after putting up 26 points. After struggling in his second season, the defenseman tallied 30 assists and 36 points in 2008-09.

Vlasic received Norris Trophy votes in 2013-14 for the first time in his career after having 24 points and a 31 plus/minus. The defenseman received votes for the award in four different seasons. In 2015-16, Vlasic had a career-high 31 assists and 39 points. His highest goal total came in 2017-18 as he put 11 pucks into the back of the net. The defenseman is still under contract with San Jose until after the 2025-26 campaign. Vlasic’s 1,239 games for the team is the second most in Sharks history. Vlasic also has the second most points by a defenseman in team history and the eighth most by any skater for San Jose with 364 points.

7. Logan Couture

  • Fourth most points in Sharks history
  • Third most goals in Sharks history
  • 2010-11 All-Rookie

Logan Couture was taken with the ninth overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft by the San Jose Sharks. The current captain of the team has 81 point shares during his 14-year tenure in San Jose. Couture first played in 2009-10 but had 32 goals and 56 points in his official rookie season in 2010-11. The center finished second in the Calder Trophy voting that season and was named to the All-Rookie team. Couture continued to develop as he put up 65 points in the following season.

In 2014-15, the center played his first 82-game season and compiled 67 points for the Sharks. He set his career-high in goals in 2017-18 with 34, and Couture’s best assist and point totals came the following year as he totaled 43 assists and 70 points. Couture is still on the team and has been the captain since the 2019-20 season. The center ranks among some of the best in Sharks' history. Couture’s 323 goals rank third all-time for the franchise, his 377 assists place him fifth, and his 700 points are the fourth most of any San Jose hockey player. 

8. Antii Niemi

  • Best save percentage in Sharks history
  • Third most wins in Sharks history
  • Five consecutive 20-plus win seasons

Antii Niemi signed with the Chicago Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent out of Finland in 2008. The Sharks signed the goaltender after he had 26 wins in 35 games for the Blackhawks in 2009-10. Niemi played in five seasons for San Jose and had 53.5 point shares with the team. The netminder had 35 wins and a .920 save percentage in his first season with the organization. Niemi followed that up with 34 wins the following season. He had 20 or more saves in all five seasons that he played for the Sharks.

In 2012-13, Niemi finished third in the Vezina Trophy voting, as he led the NHL with 24 wins and had a career-best .924 save percentage. The goalie had a career-best 39 wins in 64 games the following season, and he finished his tenure in San Jose with 31 wins in 2014-15. Niemi had a .917 over those five seasons, which is the best that any goalie has had with the franchise. Niemi also ranks third in Sharks history with 296 games played in net and 163 wins.

9. Dan Boyle

  • Four seasons with Norris Trophy votes
  • Three consecutive 50-plus point seasons
  • Third most points by a defenseman in Sharks history

Dan Boyle signed as a free agent with the Florida Panthers in 1998. After playing for both the Panthers and the Lightning, the Sharks acquired the defenseman in the summer of 2008. Boyle played in six seasons for San Jose and 49 point shares over that time. The D-man put up 16 goals, 41 assists, and 57 points during the 2008-09 campaign. Boyle finished fifth in Norris Trophy voting in his first season with the Sharks. It was the first of four straight seasons that he received votes for the award.

Boyle’s highest point total with the team came the following season, as he finished the year with 58 points in 76 games. The defenseman had his third straight 50-point season in 2010-11 and added another 48 points in 2011-12. Boyle was traded to the Rangers following the 2013-14 campaign, when he had 12 goals and 36 points. Boyle’s 269 points with the Sharks put him as the third-highest-scoring defenseman in franchise history.

10. Owen Nolan

  • Fifth most goals in Sharks history
  • Sixth most points in Sharks history
  • 1999-00 top-five Hart Trophy finish

Owen Nolan was selected as the first overall pick of the 1990 NHL draft by the Quebec Nordiques. The right winger was traded just nine games into the 1995-96 season to San Jose. Nolan played eight seasons for the Sharks and posted 48.5 point shares. In the remaining 72 games of the 1995-96 campaign, Nolan had 29 goals and 32 assists. In his first full year with San Jose, the winger had similar stats and finished with 63 points.

In 1999-00, Nolan finished fifth in the Hart Trophy voting as he set career highs with 44 goals and 84 points. Nolan set his personal assist record in his last full season with the Sharks, as he had 43 assists and 66 points in 2001-02. San Jose traded the winger at the 2003 trade deadline to Toronto, and he bounced around the league until retiring after the 2009-10 season. The former Sharks captain was second in franchise history for penalty minutes. Nolan’s 206 goals and 451 points with the Sharks rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in the history of the team as well.

Honorable Mentions

  • Jamie Baker
  • Jonathan Cheechoo
  • Ulf Dahlen
  • Vincent Damphousse
  • Jeff Friesen
  • Artūrs Irbe
  • Igor Larionov
  • Sergei Makarov
  • Mike Ricci
  • Marco Sturm


Who is the best San Jose Sharks goalie of all time?

Evgeni Nabokov was the best goalie in Sharks history, as his 97.7 point shares were the most by any goalie in franchise history. Nabokov played in ten seasons for San Jose and had six seasons with 30 or more wins. He won the Calder Trophy Award in 2000-01 and had Vezina Trophy Votes in six seasons. Nabokov is also the all-time Sharks leader in wins, saves, and games played in net.

Who is the best San Jose Sharks forward of all time?

Patrick Marleau was the best forward in Sharks history as his 125.9 point shares were the most by any forward in franchise history. The center spent 21 seasons with San Jose and was the captain for five of them. Marleau leads the team with the most goals, assists, points, shots, and game-winning goals. Marleau had 522 goals, 589 assists, and 1,111 points with the Sharks.

Who is the best San Jose Sharks defenseman of all time?

Brent Burns was the best defenseman in Sharks history, as his 97.1 point shares were the most by any defenseman in franchise history. Burns played 11 seasons in San Jose and his 172 goals, 422 assists, and 594 points are all the best by a defenseman in team history. Those numbers also put him within the top ten for all skaters in Sharks history. Burns won the Norris Trophy Award in 2016-17 and had a career-high 83 points in 2018-19.