Greatest Sharks: Goalie Controversy

Evgeni Nabokov was voted as the greatest goaltender in Sharks history.

"Snore. zzzZZZzzzzz"

Really though, there was no other viable option. Nabokov is the definition of "Sharks Goalie". Look it up in a dictionary, or at least on Wikipedia. It was a no brainer. Who came in second, you ask? Oh, do I have a story for you.

Although Artus Irbe was far and away the winner of the back up netminder's spot (40 votes for Irbe to 4 for both Toskala and Vernon) the pot-stirring and subsequent uproar in the first goaltender vote necessitated a second round. You forced my hand.

This exercise in futility has gone on to long. Let's end this!

I'll throw down some more analysis when the backup has been chosen. If you need a refresher on the candidates, make the jump for FTF's player profiles.

Hrumph.

Note: To be considered a member of the "Greatest Sharks", you must have played parts of a minimum of three seasons with the team. A player must receive at least ten votes or 25% of the overall vote to be included on the "Greatest Sharks" team.

Artus Irbe: Although drafted 196th overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1989, the Latvian Irbe played his first NHL game as a member of the San Jose Sharks in 1991. With the addition of Irbe, the Sharks were blessed with a reliable goaltender for the first time in their short history. Nicknamed "The Wall", Irbe led the Sharks to their first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance in 1993-1994. During the season, Irbe played a then NHL record 4412 minutes for the Sharks, going 30-28-16 while posting a 2.84 GAA and a .899 save percentage. Although he ended his San Jose career on a sour note (he had a disastrous final season with San Jose after he was mauled in the off-season by his pet dog) Irbe would win 57 games while in teal, including the first shutout in Sharks history. He remains one of the most loved players to ever skate for the Sharks.

 

Vesa Toskala: With the Sharks and Nabokov's inability to agree on contract terms to start the 2002-2003 season, Toskala was thrown into the fire. Serving as a backup to Kiprusoff, Toskala played well, going 4-3-1 while posting a 2.35 GAA and a .927 save percentage. Once Nabokov returned, Toskala was sent back to the minors while Kiprusoff remained the backup. However, it was Toskala who ultimately won the job of backup goaltender, impressing the Sharks' coaches and front office enough to force a trade of Kiprusoff. Although Toskala competed with Nabokov for most of his time with the Sharks, he still was able to put up admirable numbers without continuity of play and rampant trade speculation. After splitting starting duties with Nabokov for most of the 2006-2007 season, Nabokov was given the nod for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. As expected, Toskala was traded in the 2007 off-season, and is now the starting goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

 

Mike Vernon: After already establishing himself as an elite NHL netminder with the Calgary Flames and Detroit Red Wings, Vernon joined the Sharks in 1997. With 14 NHL seasons, two Stanley Cup Championships, five NHL All Star appearances, and Conn Smyth and William M. Jennings trophies under his belt, Vernon was the most decorated goalie to ever wear teal. Although he played well while in San Jose (putting up a regular season GAA of 2.39), Vernon was never able to help the Sharks past the first round of the playoffs. In the 1999-2000 NHL season, Vernon was traded to the Florida Panthers. Vernon would finish his career in Calgary, where his number (30) hangs from the rafters.

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