The 4 Most Memorable Forward Lines in Sharks History

In NHL hockey, 18 skaters dress for each game, including four forwards lines of three players each. While forwards get mixed and matched on different lines every season, each team has also had a few lines that stick together (or at least should stick together) for an extended amount of time. Sometimes the chemistry is just that good. It’s hard to explain sometimes. Without further ado, without using the same player twice, here are my picks for the best four forward lines (dream team of 12 forwards for an all-time hockey game) in Sharks history.

No. 4: Scott Thornton—Mike Ricci—Niklas Sundstrom

In the early 2000’s, the Sharks stumbled into this trio of players that became known amongst San Jose fans as the best third line in hockey. They were all defensively sound, and could contribute offensively as well. These three clicked like no other Sharks players did during the those early years of the new millennium. Even with guys like Owen Nolan, Vincent Damphousse, and Patrick Marleau, it was this third line trio that fans remember as the best and most consistent forward line.

No. 3: Sergei Makarov—Igor Larionov—Johan Garpenlov

The “OV” line in the early 1990s was arguably San Jose’s first famous line led by hall of famer Igor in the middle and fan favorite Sergei Makarov. Along with Garpenlov, these three forwards helped the Sharks knock off the Detroit Red Wings as an eighth seed vs top seed in the 1994 playoffs.

No. 2: Milan Michalek—Patrick Marleau—Steve Bernier

First things first, shout-out to colleague Dan Rice for a great interview piece with how Bernier has managed to carve out an extended career as a fourth liner after some down years. With the Sharks Bernier was a blossoming young top-six forward before his career took a downward turn, and he had great chemistry during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons with Marleau in the middle and Milan Michalek on the opposite side. The trio was a staple of the Sharks during the first couple years after the missed season in 2004-05. They had a great combination of size, speed, Bernier’s right-handed shot, play-making and finishing abilities. They had some great moments in the playoffs as well.

No. 1. Tomas Hertl—Joe Thornton—Brent Burns

These lines aren’t necessarily ordered in terms of most memorable, but just the line number that would be associated with them in an imaginary all timers game. The combination of Thornton-Burns was nearly unstoppable in the year and change that it lasted. At the beginning of the 2013-14 season, Hertl came into the league and set the league on fire next to his two giant linemates. In the postseason last year, the Sharks may have lost to the Kings but they were 2-1 in three games during the series with this trio as their top line. It baffles many in the hockey world why the Sharks have elected to go away from this line.

Have a different opinion? Let me know in the comments below.

10 thoughts on “The 4 Most Memorable Forward Lines in Sharks History”

  1. My 4 reasons the Sharks wont make the playoff,
    1 Because of the GM (at no other time in history has a team and organization failed in such a manner as did the Sharks last year and “real changes weren’t made. How long are we going to have the same person in charge, when you can make the playoff but Fail. I would also argue that the Sharks had legit shots at moving on and have for the most part, more that got beat, they beat themselves……….Its an organization thing.)
    2 Because of the couch ( If a Team can’t win one out of four games against any team in the league the couch has to be also held responsible. I think Todd McCellen is a good couch, not a great couch. I must say that they have won and loss as an organization. It as a whole suffers from “good enough, but not great enough”)
    3 The players (again “good enough, but not Great enough” I would argue that the Sharks have never had a Cidney Crosby, Toews, etc. A true blue elite top tear payer. I mean like a name you would use in the same sentence as Gretsky and Howel. They have had many top tier players.)
    4 LACK OF GUTS, through out the organization…………What lack of guts……….It takes Guts to fire the GM after an ousting like last season, to fire a good head couch because he hasn’t been able to motivate the team, to make real play changes.

    I could go on, I think they are a good team and organization and have accomplished many things, they have entertained me or years, after having said that they are the real reason for at least on of my ulcers, always being right there but never being able to take the next step, it has gotten to the point its not if the will fail but when, any true Sharks fan has to admit that its always in the back of their minds.

    A True Teal Sharks Fan
    from day one………..

    IE. Where is he now “Fat Balloon” oops Pat Falloon…….lol

  2. John is likely right about the makeup of the trophy line (maybe Michalek replaced Ekman after he left) but that was an extraordinary combination of speed, forecheck puck posession, distribution and snipe. Doesn’t get any better than that.

    • michalek thornton and cheech played a good bit together too. but michlaek marleau bernier was the more consistent line chemistry wise

  3. The Hertl Thornton Burns line were only together for 1 year… What does it matter if it was the offense was inflated that year, they still won the Rocket, Hart, and Art Ross trophy in that year which is the only time they won those trophies in sharks history. It’s not how long people are together that makes them memorable but its what they do together that does and although Bernier was solid(used to be my favorite player), he was not really more memorable than Ekman even if he did score that one handed spinorama goal.

  4. Well only your 3 and 4 belong on the list but how about Michalek, Thornton, Cheechoo. Isn’t that the line that won Hart, Ross and Richard trophies?

  5. How do you forget the Ekman-Thornton-Cheechoo or Marleau-Thornton-Heatley lines. These were way more productive/memorable than the Hertl-Thornton-Burns line. Seriously though, how in gods name did you not have the Ekman-Thornton-Cheechoo line there as it is the most productive line in their history that won them the Rocket Richard, Hart, and Art Ross trophy. Sometimes I feel like you’re not even a real fan by some of the things you write lol.

    • To each their own, the two lines you mentioned were the other lines I considered. Caveats being Ekman wasnt a very memorable player, and Heatley was a player many fans would rather soon forget. Plus Hertl scored the between the legs with Thornton and Burns. If we were talking memorable duos, id certainly put Joe-Cheech on top in the No. 1 spot.

      That said, as told to other people with same gripe on facebook, cant really argue with ekman-thornton-cheech, just as a trio didnt do it for me. They also only had the one year together in an inflated offensive 2005-06. Was trying to make a nod to lines of all eras, and michalek-marleau-bernier had a bit more staying power, for two years together during that time period

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