The San Jose Sharks have sent a strong contingent of players to the All-Star Game the past few years. Sometimes there is a random that gets chosen, hi Kelly Kisio, but overall San Jose has a well-represented history. So now that the 2017 game has come and gone, let’s look back at the best starting lineup of All-Stars the Sharks could put together.
Have fun reading about the ghosts of Sharks past before we get back to worrying about every bump, cough, and loss on the way to the playoffs. One rule when selecting this team was no current players because they get covered enough as they are you know, currently playing on the team.
Evgeni Nabokov, G 2007-08: Arturs Irbe loyalists can skip down to the next section because this can be Nabby and only Nabby. It was a debate to whether his rookie season, where he won the Calder, was better than 07-08 but this season was just too much to ignore.
Nabokov started an insane 77 games and won 46, both career highs. A fun question to ask Ron Wilson would be “Were you inebriated the entire season?” because there is pretty much no reason a goalie should play 77 games. Somehow this worked out though and San Jose went to the second round where Nabby made that ridiculous glove save. As per the San Jose Sharks Constitution they had to lose to an inferior team and question their “compete” and “heart” levels for the whole summer. Fun Nabby fact- His and Owen Nolan’s sons play together on the same minor league team.
Sandis Ozolinsh, D 1993-1994: Ozolinsh was a Shark for five years in his career, doing the full circle route of four at the beginning then coming back for one last year before retiring. In 93-94, Ozolinsh put up 64 points, which is nothing to sneeze at for a defenseman. Full disclosure, I only barely remember Sandis on the Sharks after being drafted, but I do remember old man Sandis in 2007-08 and boy he was not that good anymore. Nevertheless, Ozolinsh was good in his young days, and his All-Star nod was deserved. It would have been nice to see Ozolinsh develop into a long-time Shark, but he was traded for Owen Nolan, which is pretty cool. Fun Ozolinsh fact- Despite leaving the NHL in 2008, he didn’t retire from professional hockey until 2014, where he then went into Latvian politics.
Doug Wilson, D 1991-92: Wilson was the first ever All-Star for the newly born San Jose Sharks. The team was awful, and would get very bad before getting good, but Wilson was a Blackhawks legend and borderline Hall of Fame player. He played two seasons for San Jose before retiring and eventually moving into a management role. His selection to this All-Star game probably had a lot to do with his status in the league and promoting the new franchise.
That’s fine because there wasn’t anything to write home about in those early years. Wilson went on to do a bang up job as GM, with some odd years (what the hell was 2014-15?!?!) but mostly good. It would be quite the joy to watch Wilson finally build a Cup winning team and bring it home to the Bay. Fun Wilson fact- His junior career was so good, 295 points in 194 games, that his number 7 was retired by his junior team the Ottawa 67’s.
Owen Nolan, F 1996-97: Owen Nolan was and is my favourite hockey player ever. I own a black Nolan Sharks jersey and wear it with regularity. Nothing will ever happen in an All-Star Game that will be better than ’96. Anyone who grew up playing road hockey has gone in on a breakaway and pointed top shelf like Nolan did on Hasek. The fact this was in San Jose and was his hat trick goal makes this moment the best All-Star Game moment ever. I could write 12,000 words about these 25 seconds of hockey and still not feel like I have done it enough justice. I was eight years old when it happened and I will always remember watching it happen with my Dad. Fun Nolan fact- He was on the cover of NHL 2001 for PlayStation, and I still have it to this day.
Vincent Damphousse, F 2001-02: By excluding current players, the crop of Sharks forwards becomes quite thin. Damphousse was selected to one All-Star Game with San Jose, which seems oddly fine. Vinnie was underrated as a Shark, as to the fact I am pretty sure most people forgot he played in San Jose even though he was here from 1999-04. Damphousse had a solid year in 01-02 with 58 points in 82 games despite being on the downside of his playing days. There isn’t much to say about Damphousse as a Shark because he never reached the heights he did in Montreal and was an exceedingly average to good player. Fun Vinnie fact- He was captain of the Montreal Canadiens for three seasons.
Teemu Selanne, F 2002-03: Ah yes the failed Selanne experiment in San Jose. Teemu is a legend and first ballot Hall of Fame player that is rightfully talked about with the greats of the game. His Sharks career was not a big part of that legend making. To my surprise, Teemu played 2.5 seasons with San Jose. I was sure it was one at most. The problem with Teemu was that while being serviceable and good in San Jose, 29 and 28 goal seasons, he was not the saviour we thought we were getting. Selanne came to San Jose amid much fanfare and hope that he would help tip the Sharks over the edge and capture the Cup. He most definitely did not. After leaving San Jose it was fair to assume Selanne was probably nearing the end of his career but the jokes on us because he played 12 more seasons. Fun Teemu fact- He was the first winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy in 1998-99 as the highest goal scorer.
There we have it, six former Sharks who represented the Teal in the All-Star Game. Sorry to all the Marcus Ragnarsson apologists who really feel strongly about his place in San Jose and All-Star game lore. I just couldn’t find a way to get him in without bumping an actually good player from the list.