Guest Author - Kevin Thorburn
The San Jose Sharks began play in the National Hockey League (NHL) in October of 1991 with a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Craig Coxe netted the team’s first goal.
The team has struggled through seasons of mediocrity with a fair share of awful play and the occasional glimmer of talent. Many seasons, especially of late, fans have been teased with high expectations, but no real success has come to the team. With many strong established stars and a lot of rising hopefuls the future should look bright for a good long time.
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the team is the future success the team should be able to deliver upon. With strong goaltending, a superstar leader in Joe Thornton and a formidable defence core, the Sharks are really underachieving by not giving the city a championship.
Some very talented players have laced up the skates for the team, including: Doug Wilson, Vincent Damphousse, Owen Nolan, Patrick Marleau, Jonathan Cheechoo, Joe Thornton, Evgeni Nabokov, Jeremy Roenick, Sandis Ozolinsh and Mike Ricci.
Potential future stars include the likes of: defenseman Matt Carle, winger Milan Michalek, forward Devin Setoguchi and forward Steve Bernier.
Some prestigious awards have been taken home by San Jose players: Art Ross Trophy by Joe Thornton in 2005-06; Bill Masterton Trophy by Tony Granato in 1996-97; Calder Trophy by Evgeni Nabokov in 2000-01; Hart Trophy by Joe Thornton in 2005-06; and Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy by Jonathan Cheechoo in 2005-06.
Easily the most important trade in franchise history came during the 2005-06 season when Joe Thornton was acquired from the salary dumping Boston Bruins for defenseman Brad Stuart and forwards Wayne Primeau and Marco Sturm. Thornton went on to become the league’s most valuable player and the scoring leader. This trade is often mentioned when the subject of the most lopsided trades in NHL history is brought up.
This team from San Jose is now living up to their foreshadowed attributes when team marketing leader, Matt Levine, said when the “Sharks” moniker was given to the new franchise: “Sharks are relentless, determined, swift, agile, bright and fearless. We plan to build an organization that has all those qualities.” San Jose fans certainly hope that these promises are realized and the sights of a possible Stanley Cup championship will lure these predators to success.