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Fanspeak: Joe Thornton voted greatest Shark in franchise history

Aug 6, 2014, 6:05 PM EDT

Joe Thornton Getty Images

This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.

San Jose Sharks

1. Joe Thornton — 477 votes

2. Patrick Marleau — 475 votes

3. Owen Nolan — 352 votes

4. Other — 395 votes

Quite the close vote we had here and just think, both of these guys were supposed to be ticketed out of town this summer! But seriously, are there two players more emblematic of the Sharks than Thornton and Marleau? Not a chance, and Thornton is the best of the bunch.

Thornton’s arrival to town via a lopsided deal with the Boston Bruins that only cost the Sharks Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart, and Wayne Primeau netted them an instant MVP winner and one of the best set-up men in the game. After nine seasons in San Jose, he has 740 points in 675 games with 567 of those points coming from assists.

Seeing Thornton come out on top of this vote may surprise some Sharks faithful given that Marleau has been a lifer in a Sharks uniform and leads the franchise’s all-time list in games played, goals, and points. But it’s Thornton who drives the bus (for now) as the team captain. The fact he was given the “C” after it was taken from Marleau is still a touchy matter among some fans, but there’s been no doubt he’s the leader since he’s had it.

Now if they can just get to the Stanley Cup Final, maybe they become immortals in San Jose.

  1. skr213 - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    No. Owen did more with less talent, was a better leader, brought the team to a level beyond their rightful collective talent. Joe is the opposite: he wastes his talent by not caring about losing, he’s a lousy leader (teammates complained at the end of the season that it was like they were a bunch of co-workers instead of teammates), and rather than bringing his team to play above their collective talent level, he’s been captain of a team that has consistently played below their collective talent level. Owen Nolan was the greatest Shark to date.

  2. 0ffsides - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:45 PM

    Arturs Irbe!

  3. jpat2424 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:49 PM


  4. sanjosecupcrazy - Aug 8, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Getting past the obvious Thornton/Marleau/Nolan trio, in no particular order….

    *Mike Ricci
    *Dan Boyle
    *Jeff Friesen
    *Joe Pavelski (yes, he’s been there long enough)
    *Ryan Clowe
    *Jonathan Cheeeeeeeeeeeeechooooooooooooooooooo
    *All Russian players whose last names end in -ov
    *Drew Remenda

    *Borderline: Evgeny Nabokov, Vinny Damphousse, Gary Suter, Arturs Irbe

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