The San Jose Sharks on Wednesday brought back forward Patrick Marleau, a former team captain and one of the franchise’s all-time best players.
Marleau, 40, rejoins the franchise for which he played nearly two decades after spending the last two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in June and subsequently bought out of the final year of his contract; the move allowed Sharks general manager Doug Wilson to eventually bring Marleau back on a one-year contract reportedly worth $700,000.
Before No. 12 returns to the ice for the Sharks’ Oct. 10 game against the Chicago Blackhawks, let’s take a look at seven numbers that define Marleau’s impressive career:
Two: Second overall pick in 1997 NHL Draft
The Sharks selected Marleau after he spent two seasons with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. He needed no further seasoning in junior hockey — Marleau scored 32 points in his rookie season and finished sixth in Calder Trophy voting for rookie of the year.
Which player was selected just ahead of Marleau? Joe Thornton, who joined Marleau in San Jose midway through the 2005-06 season after nearly eight years in Boston. To this day, Thornton and Marleau rank first and second in total points and assists by all players selected in that draft.
Three: Third-oldest active NHL player
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, 42, became the oldest active NHL player in July after Matt Cullen announced his retirement. Marleau is nearly two years younger than Chara, but he is the league’s third-oldest active player. His Sharks teammate Thornton, who was born July 2, 1979 (75 days before Marleau), is the league’s second-oldest active player.
Four: Players with more NHL games played than Marleau
Marleau’s 1,657 career games rank fifth all time. He can take fourth place from Ron Francis by playing in 75 games this season — which is still possible because the Sharks have only played four games thus far. If he plays in 77 of the team’s remaining contests, Marleau will pass Jaromir Jagr for third-most.
Gordie Howe’s total of 1,767 games played remains the most in league history. Marleau will need to play 110 more to match Howe.
Five: Seasons as Sharks’ captain
According to Hockey Reference, Marleau was one of four captains for the Sharks in the 2003-04 season. When the league returned from the 2004-05 lockout, the star forward emerged as the team’s sole captain until Rob Blake took over for the 2009-10 season. The Sharks made the playoffs in all five seasons Marleau served as captain.
Five: Sharks franchise records (regular-season and playoffs)
No. 12 holds the San Jose franchise record for games played, points, goals, power-play goals and game-winning goals in both the regular season and the playoffs.
Despite holding these records, Marleau only led the Sharks in regular-season scoring three times (2000-01, 2003-04, 2010-11) and four times in the postseason. Here are his franchise records:
Regular season: Games played (1,493), points (1,082), goals (508), power-play goals (160), game-winning goals (98).
Playoffs: Games (177), points (120), goals (68), power-play goals (23), game-winning goals (16).
Marleau’s 1,493 games played with San Jose account for about 67.4 percent of the franchise’s existence through the 2018-19 season.
15: Seasons with 20 or more goals
The Aneroid, Sask., native has scored fewer than 20 goals in just six of his 21 seasons. According to Hockey Reference, just 20 players in NHL history have scored 20-plus goals in 16 or more seasons. If Marleau can score at least 20 with the Sharks this year, he will join John Bucyk, Phil Esposito, Mike Modano, Mark Recchi, Luc Robitaille and Norm Ullman with 16 seasons.
106: Game-winning goals
Marleau ranks eighth all time in the category, cementing his place as one of the most “clutch” scorers in league history. Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin sits just one place ahead of him with one more game-winning tally.
Jaromir Jagr holds the record with 135 game-winning goals.
788: Consecutive games played
Marleau’s streak dates to April 9, 2009. Even though he missed the first four games of this season, Marleau’s streak will remain intact because he was not signed to an NHL contract.
That streak is one of three notable “iron man” streaks still in play this fall, but somehow, Marleau’s is not the longest active one: Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, who has played in 800 straight, owns that honor. Arizona Coyotes forward Phil Kessel, meanwhile, has played in 776 consecutive games.