The San Jose Sharks hosted a press conference on Tuesday to announce the retirement of Owen Nolan, who was a huge part of the franchise for eight seasons after arriving in 1995. Nolan – who was a five-time All Star – was a power forward that used his size to gain an edge and had a talent for putting the puck in the net. Though he never won a Stanley Cup, the argument can be made that perhaps he is a future Hall of Famer.
Drafted first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1990, over the likes of Keith Primeau, Jaromir Jagr and Martin Brodeur , Nolan spent five full seasons with the Nordiques, a franchise that eventually moved to Colorado, before being traded to San Jose in 1995 in exchange for Sandis Ozolinch. It was there that Nolan became a legitimate NHL superstar, leading the Sharks to five playoff berths and plenty of memorable moments. The most memorable moment came during the 1997 All-Star Game – which was hosted by San Jose – when he pointed at Dominik Hasek, explaining where he planned to shoot before he scored his third goal of the event.
Nolan helped lift the Sharks to a major postseason upset over the St. Louis Blues in 2000 and ranks second in goals (206), second in power-play goals (75), third in assists (245) and third in points (451) all-time for the franchise. His best season came during the 1999-2000 campaign, when he led the league with 18 power-play goals and finished with a career-best 44 goals and 84 points. On Oct. 4, 1999 he set the team-record with six points in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks. The following season Nolan was on the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 2001 video game.
He was the Sharks captain from 1998 until 2003, when he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The soon-to-be 40 year-old also spent time with the Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild and Phoenix Coyotes, finishing his career with 422 goals, 463 assists and 1,793 penalty minutes in 1,200 NHL games.
The Sharks have not said publicly whether the team has any plans to retire Nolan’s number 11.
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