Drafting the All-Time Sharks All-Star Team

Recently colleagues Tom Mitsos and Prashanth Iyer put together an incredibly entertaining All-Time Detroit Red Wings fantasy draft article. In the spirit of their fantastic piece, fellow Sharks writer Drew Weber and myself went ahead with the Sharks version of an All-Time fantasy draft. The only couple of differences are that we decided to not put a minimum on games played (with the Sharks being a much younger franchise), and we rated players based only on their play while with San Jose.


The draft went as follows:

Weber                                  Bensch

  1. Joe Thornton                                        Joe Pavelski
  2. Patrick Marleau                                  Logan Couture
  3. Owen Nolan                                        Igor Larionov
  4. Evgeni Nabokov                                 Brent Burns
  5. Marc-Edouard Vlasic                        Dan Boyle
  6. Sandis Ozolinsh                                 Vincent Damphousse
  7. Mike Ricci                                            Jeff Friesen
  8. Ryane Clowe                                        Teemu Selanne
  9. Pat Falloon                                           Milan Michalek
  10. Marco Sturm                                        Brian Campbell
  11. Tommy Wingels                                  Jonathan Cheechoo
  12. Christian Ehrhoff                                Ray Whitney
  13. Alexander Korolyuk                           Justin Braun
  14. Gary Suter                                            Sergei Makarov
  15. Antti Niemi                                          Rob Blake
  16. Matt Carle                                            Doug Wilson
  17. Kelly Kisio                                            Douglas Murray
  18. Jason Demers                                      Johan Garpenlov
  19. Dany Heatley                                       Arturs Irbe
  20. Stephane Matteau                              Vesa Toskala

Projected Lines & Pairs

Team Weber:


(Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)
(Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)









Team Bensch:


(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)










Weber’s Draft Strategy

I got the first overall pick, so naturally I chose Joe Thornton – possibly the greatest player in Sharks’ history. He is the perfect person to center my all-star team’s top line and set up some beautiful goals. I then rounded out my first five selections with Patrick Marleau, Owen Nolan, Evgeni Nabokov, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. This is as strong of a start that I could have asked for in a draft like this; I was able to get two of San Jose’s most prolific goal scorers, one of the greatest playmakers in the league, the winningest goaltender the team has ever seen, and the most suffocating defenseman to wear teal. Sandis Ozolinsh was my sixth pick, but after that I drafted more forwards to give my team some more offensive firepower. I was very happy that I was able to snag Marco Sturm tenth because I really wanted to line him up alongside Marleau. Their speed combined with their playmaking and scoring abilities was going to make my second line lethal even against the best defensemen and goaltenders.

Vlasic San Jose Sharks
Marc-Edouard Vlasic (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

For selections 10 to 15, I tried to focus a bit more on defense. I picked up the underrated Tommy Wingels here because he is an incredibly smart hockey player and a skilled penalty killer who isn’t afraid to block shots. I got two more defensemen in Suter and Ehrhoff, and stole Korolyuk and Niemi (I don’t know how they dropped down that low either). By taking Niemi, I effectively destroyed Andrew’s goaltending, leaving him with practically nothing but losing netminders. My finals picks were spent filling any holes I had left in my lineup. San Jose’s defensive unit has been subpar historically so I had to have Jason Demers on my third pairing. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him when he was a Shark and thought he was a good defenseman, but he sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the likes of Boyle, Ozolinsh, and Suter. Ultimately though, I was very happy with the team I assembled and think they stand a chance against Team Bensch.

Why Weber Thinks His Team Will Win

Goaltending. Vesa Toskala and Arturs Irbe were decent, but they’re not Evgeni Nabokov. The only way Andrew could possibly makeup for not having Nabby would have been to select Vlasic and put him on the top pairing. Instead, I was able to pick him fifth and take away one of the few D-men that could have seriously helped his goaltender in the defensive zone. His forward group has a little bit more depth than mine and he is decent on defense, but my pairings can be equally effective and my goaltending is significantly stronger. It would be a close series, but Nabokov being backed up by Niemi is much better than a tandem of Toskala and Irbe. They can steal a game or two for me, and in a seven-game series with two very evenly matched clubs, that may be enough to emerge victorious.

Bensch’s Draft Strategy

Boyle was carted off on a stretcher in Tuesday's win (Photo by Vu Ching).
Dan Boyle (Photo by Vu Ching).

With Drew going first my strategy was simple. The idea was to take the best player available and try to throw in some chemistry in the process. I kind of figured he would take Thornton first as he is without a doubt the best player ever to wear a Sharks sweater. Knowing that, I certainly wasn’t going to allow him the opportunity to pair him with Pavelski on his top line so my counter pick in the first round was easy. After that my idea was pretty much just to roll off his choices, we went in the same order, never snaked liked in fantasy drafts. Therefore, knowing his selection each round I was able to make sure I countered when appropriate. Those of you who know me well know I’m not a big fan of goaltenders so I bypassed them altogether early on. However, I made sure to pick up Dan Boyle after Drew surprisingly went with Marc-Edouard Vlasic as his first defenseman. Obviously a deep and balanced team of skaters is more important to me than getting the best goaltender on paper and I believe my team is much better overall.

Why Bensch Thinks His Team Will Win

My team will win because I have the advantage in lines and pairs. At worst the top lines are a push with Thornton and Nolan very comparable to Pavelski and Burns and Michalek and Korolyuk mostly a wash. However my second line is much better than his. For crying out loud I have the Wizard and the Finnish Flash sandwiching Logan Couture. Whitney was young and Selanne had down years of his time with the Sharks but even then they were both playing better hockey with the Sharks than Sturm or Falloon. The third lines are another wash but my fourth line is the famous “OV” line that would skate circles around the Sharks versions of Stephane Matteau, Mike Ricci, and Tommy Wingels. Defensively Drew has the better top pair with Vlasic and Ozolinsh, but the built in chemistry of Boyle and Murray is a solid top unit. Plus Campbell as a Shark was on fire in his short stint here, him and Braun make for a better second pair than Suter and Carle. Plus Wilson and Blake are savvy vets that are way more reliable at both ends than Ehrhoff and Demers. Just like the forwards, the blue-line is well in my favor. Going by career save percentages my goalies aren’t great in comparison, but in a seven game series, who are we kidding? It’s not like Niemi nor Nabokov were playoff studs. Irbe didn’t have the nick name “Like Wall” for nothing, he would be good enough with the timely saves to back my team of superior skaters to victory in six or seven games.

Who do you think has the better team? Which squad would win in a best-of-seven series? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

12 thoughts on “Drafting the All-Time Sharks All-Star Team”

  1. If I did a leftovers draft:

    Todd Elik – Craig Janney – Devin Setoguchi

    Scott Thornton – Kevin Miller – Ray Sheppard

    Stephane Matteau – Alyn McCauley – Nisse Ekman

    Bob Errey – Darren Turcotte – Joe Murphy

    Brad Stuart – Jeff Norton

    Mike Rathje – Marcus Ragnarsson

    Craig Rivet – Brian Marchment

    Mike Vernon
    Steve Sheilds

  2. I don’t even see this as close. I think a few of these picks are ignoring “as a shark.”

    First line is a push. RW is push (Burns at RW, what a surprise.), Center Adv Weber. LW Korky on the top line is a joke. Milan was much better.

    Second line. LW is slight Adv weber. Whitney was just average as a shark. C is a push or slight adv weber. RW is a slight adv Bensch. These lines are a close push.

    Third line – this is a joke. Bensch has the “potential” for 100+ goals on this line compared to maybe 80+

    Fourth line – This isn’t even fair. -ov line by a mile

    First pairing – Big Adv Weber.
    Second Pairing – Considering Carle was not very good (all potential) on the Sharks and was a 5-6 guy who got all his points on the PP, this isn’t even close. Huge, not even close, adv Bensch.
    Third Paring – Like Carle, Erhoff came into his own on another team. his play on the sharks was good but not great, and Demers wasn’t even good on the sharks, except for very short stretches. Blake played a season with Erhoff and was considerably better. Even thinking about comparing Demers to Wilson feels like an insult. Again, huge adv. Bensch

    Goaltending is more subjective. Irbe was, IMO, a great goalie on some truly horrific teams, while Nabby and Nemo were/are great goalies on great teams. We won’t talk about Vesa because the odds of the back up seeing ice is very low unless you start Nemo. This is, I believe, slight adv. Bensch. Irbe could steal a game here or there, and Nabby and Nemo (unless he’s playing the Sharks) were not game stealers.

    In a 7 game series, Bensch sweeps. top lines v top pairs is a push on the ice, as is goal tending. Bensch’s bottom 9 just eat Weber’s bottom 4 for lunch, and his bottom four easily keep Weber’s bottom 9 from being relevent. IMO Bensch ices 4

    • Carle went to the All-Star Game as a rookie in San Jose but my third pairing is subpar. Looking back, I definitely don’t have the depth and would be relying heavily on Nabokov in net. This was still a really fun thing to do though.

      • Drew, Carle went to the all star game on the All-Rookie Team. This doesn’t make him a “real” all star. Being the best rookie at your position does not make you one of the best players at your position.
        Carle was a protected Dman with potential who played on the top PP unit with big Joe in his, arguably, best season ever as a shark…114 points. He didn’t play the PK, and was just not very good defensively at all. He had very good vision and passing ability, but could not be counted on 5 on 5. Interestingly, the same can be said of Demers. Good PP quarterback, but not counted on for his 5 on 5 play.
        Carle didn’t put the pieces together until he was paired with Chris Pronger.

  3. Of course, I’d have substituted Vesa Toskala with Mikka Kiprusoff ( He was a Shark first before being traded )

  4. There was no better line in Sharks history than Scott Thornton, Mike Ricci and Niklas Sundstrom. Just saying! They controlled play in the offensive zone and cycled the puck so effectively. No other line has been able to do that.

    That said, Team Bensch gets my vote!

    • Thanks for the read and comment Pradeep! Yeah i wanted to go for that line as well but once Drew took Ricci there was no point to to take scott thornton or sundstrom

  5. Even though I’m taking the leftovers I wouldn’t mind jumping in:

    S.Thorton – Baker – Setoguchi

    Odgers – Gaudreau – Ekman

    Elik – Goc – Gramato

    Nieto – Hertl – Grier

    Stuart – McLaren

    Marchment – Rathje

    Hannan – Ragnersson


    • wow this is the first time ive heard of elik, but just looked him up, he had a really good year in 1993-94

      • Yeah he was the real deal. Keep in mind this is all from the “leftovers” would love to see the team I could pick if it was at the beginning. When choosing it my strategy was simple, speed, grit (people that aren’t afraid to lay down that big hit and get in a fight and end up in the penalty box), and people that knew who to put it in the back of the net. Would be cool if ESPN had a simulator for all sports you could implement your roster and see how it would turn out for common use

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