Sharks

Ex-Shark Sturm likes trips to The Tank

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Ex-Shark Sturm likes trips to The Tank

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.

Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’

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AP

Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’

SAN JOSE — There was something familiar missing in San Jose when the Sharks opened training camp.

For the first time since 1996, the Sharks took the ice for their first training camp practice without Patrick Marleau on the team as the franchise's career leader in games and scoring left as a free agent for Toronto this summer.

"I've spent a lot of years with him. It is kind of strange," said Joe Thornton, who came to San Jose in 2005. "It's his birthday today too. It's a little weird, but he's going to do great up in Toronto."

Marleau had been with San Jose since being picked second overall in 1997 but left the Sharks to sign an $18.75 million, three-year deal with the Maple Leafs in July.

Marleau has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points. He had 46 points in playing all 82 games last season as he rebounded from a disappointing 2015-16 season by scoring 27 goals, including the 500th of his career. He ranks first in San Jose in career goals, games and points.

Only six players in NHL history have played more games with one team than Marleau's 1,493 in San Jose. The Sharks haven't played a game without him on the ice since April 7, 2009.

"Obviously Patty has meant so much to this organization and this group," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Everyone in this room has pretty much played with him and Patty has done something to help them out. He'll be missed. ... Just by committee somebody will step in and fill that kind of hole. That's what we'll need."

The Sharks made no major additions this offseason so will need to replace Marleau's 27 goals by getting development from younger players like Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Danny O'Regan, as well as bounce-back seasons from veterans like Thornton, Mikkel Boedker and Joonas Donskoi.

Only Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns are back after scoring more than 12 goals last season.

"When I look back at last year we had key people either have down years or miss significant time with injuries or coming off injuries," coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think if we can stay healthy I think we've got a large group of guys that can really take a step this year and I expect a step out of them."

While the Sharks lost Marleau in free agency, they did manage to keep Thornton by giving him a one-year, $8 million contract despite dwindling production last season and offseason knee surgery.

He scored just seven goals — his fewest in an 82-game season since his rookie year in 1997-98 — and was a key part of a power-play unit that uncharacteristically struggled last season. But he still managed 43 assists, teaming with captain Joe Pavelski on San Jose's top line.

Thornton missed the final week of the regular season and the first two playoff games with a left knee injury before returning for the final four games of a first-round loss to Edmonton. Thornton then underwent surgery to repair his MCL and ACL after the season but was back skating in August and started ramping it up for training camp two weeks ago. Thornton believes the lower-body work he did in rehab this offseason will pay dividends on the ice.

"They feel real strong," he said of his legs. "I feel a lot of pop out there. They're probably as strong as they've ever been just because I had to rehab that knee so much."

Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks

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Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks

The boys were back together in San Jose on Thursday for Sharks Media Day, with plenty of smiles and moments of levity. Check out the highlights...

Hey Jumbo, you dropped something. 👖🤷‍♂️

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Martin Jones is pretty good at photobombs 📸💣

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🤳 Media Day #SJSharks

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New season. New commercials. 🕉🚌📺 #ComingSoon #SharksForLife

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