With all the hype that swallows up the NHL’s Entry Draft, it’s easy to forget the player who wasn’t quite good enough, in the scouts’ eyes at least, to be chosen first overall. This short series will be looking that the other guy; the fella who went second. We’ve already looked at Eric Staal, Tom Lysiak, Jason Spezza, Dave Babych, Trevor Linden, Kirk Muller, Brad Park, Daniel Sedin, Brian Bellows and Marcel Dionne, and as there’re just 2 days to go until Christmas, here’s #2 in the 4th Line Podcast’s top 12 2nd Overall Picks. All stats as of the end of 2016/17.
#2 Patrick Marleau, C
Drafted 1997, San Jose Sharks
Games Played 1493
In 1996/97 season was an odd one, the Colorado Avalanche had won the league, but the Stanley Cup Final was fought between the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers in a series which saw the Wings sweep the Flyers. The fight for first overall draft pick was between the Boston Bruins, and the San Jose Sharks. The Bruins managed to suck just a little harder and used the first overall pick to draft a man they call ‘Jumbo‘. And we all know how that turned out. The Sharks took to the stand second and picked an impressive young center from the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Marleau joined the team immediately, but the NHL is a tough mistress and it took a while for Marleau to find his feet with his new team. In his rookie season Marleau scored a career-low 32 points. The Sharks had been in a bad place, and at the same time Marleau joined the team, Darryl Sutter was appointed as head coach. It took time but Sutter was able to bring the best out of Marleau and help the youngster define his playing style.
Sutter was replaced by Ron Wilson in 2002 and during the 2003/04 season Marleau was given the C, a position he would hold until 2009. It wasn’t long until Thornton was traded to the Sharks and bolstered what was starting to look like a solid offence. In 2009 Logan Couture joined the team, followed by Brent Burns from Kashyyyk in 2011.
In 2016, with perhaps the best team ever assembled in San Jose, the Sharks had a decent shot at the franchise’s first Stanley Cup when the team reached the finals. Marleau scored 13 points in the playoffs but Pittsburgh Penguins, on suprisingly good form considering they’d fired their head coach half way through the season, took the series in six games, breaking a thousand San Jose hearts.
After 19 seasons with San Jose, and having broken pretty much every franchise record, it was time for pastures new, and after pondering several invitations, Marleau joined the Toronto Maple Leafs at the end of the 2017 season, where he currently still is.
We often ask if teams could get a do-over at the draft, would they pick differently? Here area list of the franchise records currently held by Marleau in San Jose: most goals, most points, most games, ironman, most shots, most game winning goals (#HiSticking), the list goes on and it’s astonishingly impressive. Add to that the two gold medals that Marleau has won representing Team Canada in the Olympics, and you’re left with a picture of a man who loves the sport of hockey.
That’s almost it for our list of best number two draft picks, there’s just one left to unveil, but you’re going to have to wait until Christmas Day for that one. So enjoy Christmas Eve, that last minute shopping or food prep. Whatever you’re doing, have a good one.