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The Greatest American Shark: Joe Pavelski

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Joe Pavelski is the best Shark to ever come out of the best country, and it isn't even close.

Pavelski, seen here pissing on the dreams of Canadians.
Pavelski, seen here pissing on the dreams of Canadians.
Christian Petersen

The San Jose Sharks have been around for about 23 years now, and in that time they have employed great players from all over the hockey world (the hockey world, of course, is North America, Europe, and Russia). While most of the brightest stars have been Canadian, the Sharks have had notable players from other countries as well. Owen Nolan, one of the greatest captains in the history of the franchise, was a Canadian who was actually Irish. Igor Larionov, the first Shark to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, was a Russian who had been a star in the Soviet League. The Latvian duo of Arturs Irbe and Sandis Ozolinsh helped the Sharks reach the second round of the playoffs for the first time in the team's existence. Even Germany has been well represented on the Sharks, with Marco Sturm and Marcel Goc playing valuable roles for the team in the past.

But for some reason, the Sharks have had very few great players from the United States of America.

Here is a complete list of the American Sharks:

Beaufait, Mark (C)
Boucher, Brian (G)
Braun, Justin (D)
Brennan, Rich (D)
Burish, Adam (R)
Callahan, Joe (D)
Capuano, Dave (L)
Carle, Matthew (D)
Carter, John (L) (not "of Mars")
Cavanagh, Tom (R)
Colman, Michael (D)
Coxe, Craig (L)
Cronin, Shawn (D)
Depalma, Larry (C)
Dimitrakos, Niko (R)
Fahey, Jim (D)
Fenton, Paul (L)
Ferriero, Benn (C)
Gaudreau, Robert (C)
Gomez, Scott (C)
Granato, Tony (R)
Grier, Michael (R)
Guerin, Bill (R)
Helminen, Dwight (C)
Iafrate, Albert (D)
Janney, Craig (C)
Jillson, Jeff (D)
Kennedy, Tim (C)
Kraft, Ryan (C)
Lalor, Michael (D)
Langfeld, Josh (R)
Lappin, Peter (R)
Lawton, Brian (C)
Leach, Jay (D)
Lipuma, Chris (D)
Maley, David (L)
McCarthy, John (C)
McDonough, Hubert (Hubie) (C)
McHugh, Michael (L)
Miller, Kevin (C)
Miller, Kip (C)
Morris, Jon (C)
Mullen, Brian (R)
Norton, Jeffrey (D)
Ortmeyer, Jed (R)
Parker, Scott (R)
Pavelich, Mark (C)
Pavelski, Joe (C)
Pederson, Thomas (D)
Petrecki, Nick (D)
Preissing, Tom (D)
Presley, Wayne (R)
Rissmiller, Patrick (L)
Roenick, Jeremy (C)
Snuggerud, Dave (L)
Stalock, Alex (G)
Sullivan, Michael (C)
Suter, Gary (D)
Tancill, Chris (R)
Tennyson, Matt (D)
Terreri, Chris (G)
Turcotte, Darren (C)
Vesce, Ryan (R)
Williams, David (D)
Winchester, Brad (L)
Wingels, Tommy (C)
Zalewski, Steven (C)
Zmolek, Doug (D)

68 total American players in San Jose history. And how many of them actually played a significant number of games AND could fairly be said to be "good" while on the team? Well...

Matt Carle

Niko Dimitrakos

Tony Granato

Mike Grier

Kevin Miller

Jeff Norton

Joe Pavelski

Tom Preissing

Patrick Rissmiller

Dave Snuggerud

Ten American players were worth a damn at all during their time in teal, and several of these are really stretching the term "good." Plus Dave Snuggerud actually only played around 30 games for the Sharks and didn't do much of anything; I just included him because his name made me laugh.


Sorry, Dave. (via

With Snuggs out of the picture, let's take a look at the remaining nine contenders for the title of Greatest American Shark, and we'll see why the eight of them who aren't Joe Pavelski can't possibly compete.

Matt Carle: Carle played 151 games for the Sharks and recorded 63 points. A decent total for a young defenseman, but hardly awe-inspiring.

Niko Dimitrakos: Niko played 134 games for San Jose and had 53 points, which isn't very good at all for a right wing. I'll be honest, this is another guy I picked in large part because of his name.

Tony Granato: With 99 points, 387 penalty minutes, and a Masterton trophy in 278 games played for the Sharks, Granato is a clear second place for the best American-born player in the team's history.

Mike Grier: Grier played for San Jose from 2006 through 2009, and had 78 points in 221 games with the team. That's nothing special, really.

Kevin Miller: 55 points in 89 games from 1994 through 1997. Yawn.

Jeff Norton: Norton Grover Clevelanded the Sharks, playing for San Jose from 93 through 95 and then again from 98 through 2001. During those two stints with the team he had 93 points in 225 games as a defensemen, which would probably make him the third-best American to ever play for the team if I cared to rank anything beyond second place.

Tom Preissing: A decent but not great defenseman for San Jose in the mid 2000s.

Patrick Rissmiller: A decent but not great center for San Jose in the mid 2000s.

Okay, now with all that garbage out of the way...




Joe Pavelski is the greatest American Shark. In 479 games played for San Jose, the Big Pavelski has recorded 336 points. He's the team's fifth-leading scorer of all time (behind four filthy Canadians) and will take over fourth place if he plays another year for the Sharks. He's also third in team history in playoff scoring with 50 points in 74 games, and gained attention as a playoff hero in the 2010 postseason when he recorded three straight multi-goal games, becoming the first player to do that since the treacherous Canadian Mario Lemieux did it in 1992.

Pavelski scores huge goals, can play center or wing, wins face-offs, kills penalties, and can do nifty spin-moves:

Joe Pavelski is great. He's been a huge asset for the Sharks and this blog for years, and he would easily walk away with the victory crown in the Greatest American Shark competition if our forefathers hadn't fought and bled and died to keep crowns out of this pure and perfect land.

Go Joe, Go Sharks, and Go United States of America.