500 goals. A number only 44 skaters have ever accomplished in the National Hockey League. To reach the 500 goal mark, skaters need 50 goals per season for ten years, or 25 over a twenty year career. It could be a guaranteed ticket into the NHL Hall of Fame. On February 2, 2017, Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks buried goal number 500.
Marleau was born in the tiny village of Aneroid, Saskatchewan, Canada. To put it simply, the population of Aneroid could probably fit in five rows of one section at SAP Center. A 2006 census counted 45 residents of the village. A large sign just outside the town’s entrance reads, “Aneroid, Home of Patrick Marleau.” As tiny as Aneroid is, above all, they are proud of their favorite son. A line from Ross McKeon’s book, 100 Things Sharks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die reads, “Simply put, Patrick Denis Marleau spoke softly and carried a big stick.”
The pride of Aneroid, Saskatchewan. pic.twitter.com/LXsA0Maoxk— Brodie Brazil (@brodiebrazilCSN) February 3, 2017
Patty was drafted second overall by the San Jose Sharks in the 1997 NHL Draft. He would play the next season as a fresh-faced 18 year old looking to turn a franchise around. However, early success was not there for Marleau. He struggled to put scoring together, but eventually he learned how to put his offensive skill to work while displaying his outstanding defense. Midway through the 2002-03 season, Marleau was named captain as a result of Owen Nolan’s departure. With the rising skill of their new captain, a talented team surrounding him, and a blockbuster trade for Joe Thornton, the Sharks would look to challenge for the Stanley Cup for years to come. However, season after season, the Sharks failed to fulfill Stanley Cup aspirations and Marleau was the target of those failures.
The Sharks were the #1 seed and President’s Trophy winners for the 2008-09 season. However, they were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by #8 seed Anaheim. As a result, Marleau was stripped of the captaincy after the season. He was also infamously called out by former teammate Jeremy Roenick in 2011 after a playoff loss to Detroit. “An unbelievably poor effort from Patrick Marleau. “A gutless, gutless, performance by Patrick Marleau. Count them; zero points in this series. And he had a game like that.” Marleau responded by netting the game-winning goal in game 7 in one of the most stressful Sharks playoff series, ever.
2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs semi-final game 3 OT winner
More recently, Marleau created quite a stir in San Jose, when he was open to being moved to one of three teams. One of them, the Los Angeles Kings. This did not sit well with Sharks fans, and he became somewhat resented by them. Some were wanting him to leave, feeling the best perhaps is behind him. Ultimately, the Sharks kept him, and he made it to the Stanley Cup Final. This season, Marleau looks arguably rejuvenated by last season’s success. On January 23rd, Marleau scored a natural hat trick in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche. He netted another goal for his first career four goal game, joining Owen Nolan and Tomas Hertl to accomplish the feat in a Sharks sweater.
However, with the controversy that has surrounded Marleau throughout his career, there is nothing negative about the man. Listening to his interviews, he sounds very humble. He is also a key member in the Sharks’ dressing room. Even the local media loves Patty. He will always be a fan favorite in San Jose, with many #12 jerseys walking down Santa Clara Street.
Marleau owns almost all of San Jose’s offensive categories, and as a result, he has been dubbed Mr. Shark. Patty is the Sharks’ all-time leader in: goals, even-strength goals, power play goals, shorthanded goals, points, shots and games played. He has the most seasons of 10+, 20+ and 30+ goal seasons as a Shark. Patty is the fastest Shark to 10 and 30 goals in a season. In addition, he is also the youngest player in NHL history to play 1,000, 1,300 and 1,400 games with one team. No doubt fans could expect to see #12 hanging in the rafters one day in the SAP Center.
Now, Patrick Marleau has joined the NHL elite, scoring his 500th goal. The goal came on a power play (9:30 into the game), set up by Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski. Burns got it to Pavs entering the offensive zone, and apparently the Canucks forgot Marleau was sitting on 499 goals, as he was left wide open at the left faceoff circle. A stretch pass and a quick wrister later, he beat Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller for goal #500. Also, as a little nugget, Marleau becomes the 18th NHL skater to score 500 goals for the team they were drafted by. Truly a night Patty, and all Sharks fans will remember for a long time to come. Here is to you Patrick Marleau; congratulations, and lets go get a Cup now.