1659 Games. 553 Goals. 616 Assists. 127 Points in 191 playoff games. Three time all-star. Two-time Olympic gold medalist. Pretty great resume for Patrick Marleau. The 40-year old from Swift Current, Saskatchewan just signed a one-year $700k deal with the San Jose Sharks and scored 2 goals in the first game of (possibly) his final season in the NHL. This may be a familiar sight to Sharks fans since Patty has scored 2 goals in his first game of the season twice before (2009, and 2012). With a potential retirement looming for the Summer of 2020, let's have a look back at Mr. Marleau's achievements.
Marleau has been one of the faces of the Sharks since he joined the team in 1997. He was drafted 2nd overall (right behind future teammate Joe Thornton), and was the youngest player in the entire 1997 draft class. He was awarded the captaincy midway through the 2003-04 season; a title he held for nearly five seasons. During that time, he was named to three all-star teams and finished top 10 in voting multiple times for the Hart Memorial and Lady Byng trophies. He donned the Canadian Olympic Red in 2010 and 2014, and had 13 points the 2016 playoffs where the Sharks made the Finals. After his Finals appearance he took his talents North of the border back to his home country where he joined the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was then traded for salary cap relief in the summer of 2019 to Carolina who bought his contract out.
That brings us to today. Now that we've gone over a summary, let's dive into some specific aspects of his career.
Old Man Strength
Marleau - October 2019
Compared to most players, Marleau has had exceptionally good longevity. He is one of only 5 active players to score at least 55 points at the age of 35 or older. He's in some exclusive company here with clear-cut Hall of Famers such as Jaromir Jagr (yes, he's technically active) and Joe Thornton.
A more astonishing fact may be that he is one of only 9 players to play in 82 games at the age of 39 or older and one of only 13 players in the past 35 years to play in all of their team's games at that same age. It takes some incredible durability to be able to play that long... which leads nicely into the next section.
Patrick's durability has been something to behold. He has played in 1659 games in his career which ranks him 5th all-time behind only Ron Francis, Jaromir Jagr, Mark Messier, and Gordie Howe. That is elite company. He is also the youngest player to play 1000 games with one team, and the youngest ever to hit 1300 and 1400 total games. On top of this, Marleau currently holds the 6th longest iron man streak in NHL history at 790 games (and counting) played in a row while under contract (as of the writing of this article). He has Keith Yandle ahead of him at 802 games and Phil Kessel behind him at 778 games (Fun fact, all three of these streaks are still active. AND all of them started in 2009... weird).
Durability is one thing, but to play at a consistent level for all of those years is another thing entirely. In 2017-18, he finished 8th on the Leafs in scoring with 47 points despite being their oldest player at 38 years old. Only one other player over the age of 28 managed 40 points on that team (Tyler Bozak with 43). The next season he finished 9th on the team in scoring while again being their oldest player at 39. The oldest player to score more than him that season was John Tavares (28 years old). To be fair, that Leafs team only had two players over 30 years old in Marleau and Ron Hainsey, but it's impressive nonetheless!
San Jose Star
To go along with his other accolades, Marleau has cemented himself as (in my opinion) the greatest San Jose Shark of all time. Let's go through some of his Sharks records.
San Jose Sharks' all-time leader in games played (1,493)
San Jose Sharks' all-time leader in points (1082)
San Jose Sharks' all-time leader in goals (510), even-strength goals (331), power-play goals (160), short-handed goals (17), game-winning goals (98)
San Jose Sharks' all-time leader in shots (3,798)
San Jose Sharks' all-time leader in consecutive games played (624)
Most seasons with 10+ goals (19), 20+ goals (14), and 30+ goals (7) scored as a San Jose Shark
The first (and only) Shark to hit 500 goals with the team
The first Shark to score 4 goals in one period (3rd period, January 23, 2017 vs Colorado)
Sharks' all-time leader in Total Point Shares (125.0) and Offensive Point Shares (93.8)
Shark's all-time leader in total goals on-ice for (1636)
If you weren't convinced he's the greatest Shark of all time before, I would hope you are now.
Whenever he retires, whether its 2020 or a few years down the line, Patty Marleau will leave behind over 2 decades of fans who cheered on his every move. He will leave behind the HP Pavilion/SAP Center as his home arena of many years. He will have the resume of a borderline Hall of Famer and will be known as the greatest player in Sharks history. So let's sit back and enjoy what time he has left on the ice. Whether you're a Sharks fan, Kings fan, or anything in between, I'm sure we can all respect the legendary career of #12.