Sharks Rightly Retired Patrick Marleau’s Jersey

The San Jose Sharks have had numerous players who have made a massive impact throughout the years. Owen Nolan, Evgeni Nabokov, and more recently, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton tore apart the all-time Sharks list. Their effects and contributions to the franchise have genuinely shown how there was no shortage of talent in San Jose, despite the lack of Stanley Cups in their history. However, when looking at the most impactful Sharks of all time, none stand out more than Patrick Marleau.

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Marleau has been the face of the Sharks franchise since he was drafted in 1997. Alongside Thornton, he led the team to decades-long success. They never managed to win the Stanley Cup, but that provided Marleau the motivation he needed to return continuously. However, after a brief tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins, he announced his retirement as a member of the Sharks. Now, as the team looks to rebrand, management has decided to hang Marleau’s number 12 hang in the rafters as a thank you for everything.

Marleau Is Mr. San Jose Shark

Outside of Marleau’s leadership contributions, he has torn apart the Sharks’ all-time leaderboard in nearly every category. In his prime, he was an outstanding goal scorer. As a result, almost every point-related category outside of assists belongs to “Patty.” There is no other player in the franchise’s history who has produced as consistently and regularly as Marleau did.

San Jose Sharks Patrick Marleau
San Jose Sharks Patrick Marleau (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Jeff Chiu)

What makes Marleau’s contributions to the Sharks even more remarkable are his leadership qualities. Not only did he smash the Sharks’ records into pieces, but he led a new generation of players into success. Without him, players like Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Timo Meier may have never reached their peak. There is no doubt that even though he has left the league, his leadership qualities bled over to those he played with, who are now leading the next generation of players.

Without a doubt, Marleau defined what it means to be a member of the Sharks. He may not have been the captain of the Sharks for very long, but he was one of the main attractions of the team for years. If there is any player in Sharks history, who deserves to have his number retired, it’s Marleau.

Marleau’s Record-Breaking Career

While Marleau’s history with the Sharks is extensive, he managed to break a few league-wide records as well, most notably the all-time games played record. While his record is not tied to any points-related categories, it would be a massive understatement to say that the all-time games played record is less important. Considering the extensive history of the NHL, having a player break a prestigious record such as this one absolutely calls for celebration.

Patrick Marleau
Does travel impact the older player like Patrick Marleau more? (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Perhaps what is one of the most impressive aspects of Marleau’s game is how long he contributed. His point totals reflected a player well younger than his age for many years. As with all players, his output eventually trailed off, but he spent most of his decade-long career scoring essential goals. He may have begun to lose his scoring touch at the end of his career, but he did not fluke his way to setting the all-time games played record.

Sharks’ First Retired Number

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the Sharks retiring Marleau’s number is that he was their first retired number. The Sharks have had a lot of outstanding players, but none of them have managed to find their numbers in the rafters. Undoubtedly, no one deserves this honor more than Mr. San Jose Shark.

San Jose Sharks' Patrick Marleau
San Jose Sharks’ Patrick Marleau (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Retiring a jersey is a big deal. Only the most elite and memorable players within a franchise are gifted with the honor of having their number immortalized. However, as with all teams, they need a place to start. Considering how the Sharks have existed for much less time than most teams, it makes sense that they held off on number retiring for so long.

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The Sharks are incredibly lucky to have had Marleau as a member of their team. It is not often that a player of his caliber comes around, and it is even more rare to see them stick around until their 40s. Without a doubt, they have made an incredible decision to honor the player that was once the cornerstone of their team. While Marleau is not the only player that wore the teal who should get a jersey retirement ceremony, he is undoubtedly the correct first choice. In fact, they may never find another player like him again. He may be retired now, but Marleau was honored as a Shark forever when they took on the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 25, 2023.