The San Jose Sharks feature one of the NHL’s top up-and-coming defensemen, Mario Ferraro. While not considered a household name outside of the Bay Area, Ferraro has the makings of a true San Jose legend. He’ll carry on a legacy of beloved players who bleed teal and white. The rich history of Sharks players such as Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the Sharks’ mainstays who have shaped the roster over the years are the names we think of when associating those who laid the foundation for Sharks hockey.
We will always think of Marleau as the player who ousted Gordie Howe as the NHL’s all-time leader in games played. Is it fair to call Marleau an all-time great player in the NHL? Or is he just an all-time great for San Jose? I’ll let you make that call for yourself, but I see him as a fan favorite. He’s going to garner greater acclaim for his loyalty to San Jose as an ambassador to the team and city than his actual stats. There is nothing wrong with that, as fans need that hero to rally around.
How The Foundation Can Continue Under Mario Ferraro
Ferraro will follow a similar path to Marleau. He might not hold a games played record or become a franchise leader in a particular statistical category. However, he will carry a god-like presence as others like Thornton, Vlasic and Marleau have had (or still have) with the Sharks fans. Ferraro is that one jersey you’ll see all the die-hard fans wear at the SAP Center. He’s assuredly aiming to be the face of the franchise in the eyes of the passionate Shark Tank fans.
The Passion of the Young Sharks Defenceman
Ferraro wears the “A” on his sweater as if it were the “C.” His passion and admiration for the game itself are a telling sign of how he will take on the lofty mantle left by Marleau and Thornton. We need to remember that this is a player who’s only in his third NHL season. We’ve truly not seen everything Ferraro has to offer, not only as a leader but a player as well.
What Have We Learned This Season About Ferraro?
Ferraro, 23, is still a youngster by today’s league standards. For all we know, he could end up becoming the Sharks’ all-time leader in points scored by a defenseman. He could win the Norris Trophy like his teammates, Burns and Karlsson. We honestly don’t know because we’ve not really seen enough of him taking on the top defensive pairing role.
If anything positive can come from this COVID outbreak, we’ve been able to see some of his top-pairing ability. While we will not give Super Mario the keys to the San Jose defensive unit as of yet, his play has been pretty desirable, all things considered.
There are growing pains that come with taking on an expanded role (10 giveaways in 5-on-5 action, below 50 Corsi for percentage (CF%)). However, for all the issues, there are just as many positives (28:19 TOI average so far in November). This is, of course, just based on this season. We’ve seen Ferraro take on expanded roles in the past; this just has a different feel to it.
Leadership and Desire Goes a Long Way To Sustained Success
Ferraro is a newly-minted alternate captain for the Sharks. In my eyes, he’s passed his initial test with flying colors. He’s taken on a prominent role in the wake of the COVID outbreak. This once again proves Ferraro will not be defined by his on-ice stats. He will be defined by his heart and passion. Those traits certain players don’t ever obtain, or it takes years to locate. I’m of the firm belief that Ferraro is a generational player for San Jose. You can’t teach leadership and desire.
The San Jose greats like Marleau and Thornton, they came in on Day 1 and knew what they wanted to do for their team. Ferraro is that kind of player. He sets himself up as a leader, a wise veteran (despite his three-year career) to lead the young prospects and team for the future.
“I love it here. The Sharks are the team that trusted me and drafted me. I’m very loyal to this organization. I don’t see there ever being any better organization that I’d like to be a part of. This is the place I want to be. There’s high goals and high standards here that we are chasing, and that’s very motivating for me. It’s very exciting. I’d love to be a Shark forever.”from (“Sharks’ Mario Ferraro takes larger leadership role, wants to be part of the teams solution: ‘I love it here’, The Athletic, 09/29/21)
If you ask me what a franchise player is, the previous quote sums it up. A franchise player isn’t someone who does it for the stats, he does it for the name on the front of his jersey. Ferraro is the latter. As San Jose fans, we need to hold on to him for as long as we can. This is a personality and player you build your franchise around. The offensive talent will come, the leadership and loyalty aren’t as easy to find.
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Growing up in South Florida, I’ve lived through the “Year of the Rat”. I’ve seen my fair share of Blue Jackets triumphs and failures living in Ohio. Now, I look to Northern California and the Sharks as my new home team.