Patrick Marleau banner outside of SAP Center.

Marleau Scores No. 500, Changes Average Outlook

Vetaran forward Patrick Marleau has recently fitted in seamlessly with the Sharks.

Many people were wondering if Marleau truly deserved a roster spot. Prior to Marleau’s four-goal third period game in Colorado against the Avalanche on Jan. 23, the 37-year-old recorded nine goals and eight assists in 47 games.

Marleau isn’t a high-mileage player because he’s a vetaran now. However, his last couple of performances have justified why the masses shouldn’t have been so quick to write him off. Just one day after overwhelming the Avalanche, Marleau collected an assist along with a plus-one rating against the Jets in Winnipeg.

And the triumphs didn’t stop there. Marleau returned to San Jose for a brief, two-game homestand, picking up an assist and minus-one rating when the Sharks hosted the Oilers on Jan. 26.

We weren’t exactly sure when the milestone would occur, but Marleau was on pace to become the first Sharks player to score 500 goals. It didn’t happen on Jan. 31 when the Sharks hosted the Blackhawks as Marleau ended a disappointing month on a positive note with a power-play goal.

The Sharks made a quick trip to Vancouver to face the Canucks on Feb. 2. Little did we know, Marleau made history, scoring his 500th goal against goaltender Ryan Miller. Marleau became the first Sharks player to score 500 goals and 21st NHL player to reach the historic milestone in just one uniform.

Marleau told Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area: “To be playing with one club and with a lot of guys for a lot of years on this team, it means a lot to share that with them, and to see how happy they are for you.”

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer complimented Marleau, saying:

“He’s been hot lately…He’s been shooting, he’s been creating chances, he’s been playing hard. He’s always been a little bit of a streaky scorer, and we felt there was a good chance he was going to get it tonight.”

Despite collecting the second assist on Brent Burns’ third period goal and nearing 1000 career points, Joe Thornton forgoed his ego and praised his fellow teammate.

Thornton told Kurz: “Just so happy for Patty (Patrick Marleau) tonight. Just love the guy, he’s the best.”

Among the NHL’s all-time scorers, Marleau’s ranks tied for 44th in goals (500), tied for 6th in game-winning goals (97) and tied for 64th in points (1064). 19.4 percent of Marleau’s 500 career goals have been game-winners.

Marleau is the fifth active NHL player to score 500 goals, including Jaromir Jagr (758), Jarome Iginla (617), Alex Ovechkin (550), and Marian Hossa (517). He joins Teemu Selanne (684) and Jeremy Roenick (513) as the only Sharks in the 500-goal club, and is just the second player to score his milestone 500th goal as a member of the Sharks aside from Roenick.

Marleau holds nearly every major statistical Sharks franchise record, including: games played (1,463), goals (500), points (1,064), power-play goals (158), shorthanded goals (17), overtime goals (9) and game-winning goals (97).

With that being said, does Marleau belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

The question is debatable, but I’d have to say no. I think the selection committee would put Roenick in before Marleau. I’m not discrediting Marleau’s statistics because he has scored 1,064 points (500 goals, 564 assists) in 1,463 games thus far. He’s a good player, but he hasn’t changed the sport of hockey.

Unless Marleau continues to play competitively, he won’t change enough minds on the selection committee. It’s hard to keep someone out who scores more than 100 goals in a season. Also, Marleau should try to squeeze in a Stanley Cup before he retires.