SAN JOSE The Florida Panthers roster has no fewer than five former Sharks, none of which had as big of an impact on the organization as Marco Sturm.
The highest-scoring German born player in NHL history, Sturm played 553 games over seven-plus seasons in a teal jersey. He was a key component, of course, in the biggest trade in franchise history when he was sent to Boston as part of the deal for Joe Thornton in 2005.
Six years later, he still loves coming back to the Shark Tank.
That was my start and my home for a long time, and I think it still is one of the best places to play. Im always really excited to be here, said the 33-year-old Sturm, who was the Sharks first round draft pick in 1996 (21st overall).
Only Patrick Marleau remains on the roster from when he last skated here as a member of the home team.
Things have obviously changed a little bit, but you never change the building and the fans and everything else, he said. Its probably the best building to play in.
Now, Sturm is on his sixth NHL team after Vancouver traded him to Florida on October 23, after he signed a one-year deal with the Canucks just this summer. It came as a bit of a surprise.
Yeah, it was because it was just the start in Vancouver and I was really excited about it, he said.
Sturm has battled some major knee injuries in the recent years, and has just a goal and an assist in 16 games with the Panthers, who are the surprise leaders in the Southeast Division. Florida overhauled its roster this summer, adding several big salaries like Kris Versteeg and Brian Campbell just to reach the salary cap floor.
I think everyone is still kind of figuring everything out, and I came early enough to kind of grow up with the guys again and its been great. Guys made it really easy for me, and it helps.