San Jose Sharks: Patrick Marleau’s Significance To A Younger Generation

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 15: Patrick Marleau
ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 15: Patrick Marleau /

As summer comes to an end for the San Jose Sharks, an opportunity to reflect on an eventful offseason presents itself.

General Manager Doug Wilson negotiated some very important contracts this summer, including the long-term re-signings of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Martin Jones, two key pieces to the San Jose Sharks’ success in recent years. Joe Thornton also re-signed with the team in a one-year contract that has us all breathing a sigh of relief.

But perhaps the most newsworthy event of the summer was Patrick Marleau’s departure.

Marleau signed a 3-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, in what will be his first time ever playing for an NHL team other than the Sharks.

While fans were deeply saddened, even angry, by the news of his departure, it did give us a chance to appreciate what we had by taking a trip down memory lane.

Patrick Marleau began his NHL career in 1997. He was drafted second overall by the San Jose Sharks behind only Joe Thornton, a man who would later become just as important to the team’s success.

Marleau became the team captain midway through the 2003-04 season. Though he would eventually find himself demoted to alternate, there was never any doubt of his leadership role in San Jose.

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He holds a number of offensive records, including even strength and power play goals. Not surprisingly, he is the all-time points leader, though another contract for Joe Thornton could put Marleau in the second-place spot. And it goes without saying that he has played more games for the Sharks than any other player has and perhaps ever will. The list goes on and on. While his accomplishments are aplenty, Marleau has been known for much more than just his offensive ability and breathtaking speed.

From his rookie campaign to the present, Patrick Marleau has exhibited a sense of poise and professionalism all too rare in the world of professional sports.

I’ve often found myself in awe of the calm demeanor Marleau displayed night after night. Among upsetting losses and adversity, he has remained calm, cool, collected, and ready to play the game he loves with the best possible attitude. It isn’t hard to understand why his presence, especially as a veteran player, has been held in high regard.

The accomplishments he earned while playing for San Jose seem endless and die-hards are well aware of what he has meant to the organization and its success. But to a generation of millenials who grew up watching Marleau and the Sharks season after season, his significance exceeds the statistics.

Marleau was and still is an example of a professional athlete with a level of skill that does not usually generate such a humble, level-headed demeanor. He serves as a great role model for young fans everywhere and an excellent reminder that success does not need to boast.

Sharks fans will remember Marleau for the many records that will remain in his name for years to come. But the most important legacy he leaves behind is one of true professionalism.

Next: Marleau Signs with Toronto

He will undoubtedly receive a standing ovation sure to leave fans feeling emotional when he returns to the tank on October 30th. We can’t wait.