Eight former Sharks players fans can cheer for when NHL playoffs begin

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Brian Witt
·5 min read
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For only the third time since the turn of the century, the Sharks are not a playoff team. They won't play in another game that counts until December at the earliest, but that doesn't mean San Jose fans don't have something -- or someone -- to root for in the NHL's expanded playoff format.

A handful of former Sharks still are alive on one of the 24 teams that qualified for the postseason. Some of them recently wore the teal sweater, while others left San Jose long ago.

Here are eight former San Jose players that Sharks fans should be rooting for throughout the NHL playoffs:

Patrick Marleau

Duh.

Mr. Shark has now has gone through two tours of duty in San Jose, but he currently plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins after being acquired at the trade deadline. Though Sharks fans might find it difficult to cheer for the Penguins after they defeated their favorite squad in their one and only Stanley Cup Finals appearance, this might represent Marleau's last good chance to raise Lord Stanley.

After everything Marleau has done for the franchise, Sharks fans owe it to him to cheer him and -- to a lesser degree -- the Penguins on. And depending what happens this offseason, don't rule out a third go for Marleau in San Jose.

Joe Pavelski

Another duh.

The former Sharks captain came up in the clutch time and time again for San Jose, and it certainly was painful for their fans to see him go. Pavelski signed with the Dallas Stars in free agency last offseason, and while his production dropped off, it's well known that he provides plenty of value beyond the statsheet.

Pavelski recorded 100 points across 134 playoff games with the Sharks, and the playoffs arguably are where he does his best work. Much like Marleau, he endeared himself to Sharks fans over his long tenure with the franchise, and there's no question they'll be pulling for him to win his first cup.

Barclay Goodrow

He might have scored the most memorable goal in Sharks franchise history. His series-winning goal in overtime of Game 7 against the rival Golden Knights -- completing the greatest comeback in NHL playoff history -- forever cemented him in San Jose lore.

Goodrow might stand the best chance of any former Shark to win it all this year. Traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning prior to the deadline -- for a first-round pick -- he now plays for one of the prohibitive favorites. 

Joonas Donskoi

He scored the first game-winning goal in a Stanley Cup Finals game in Sharks franchise history, and the Avalanche arguably have enjoyed having him as much as San Jose missed him this past season after signing with Colorado in free agency. Donskoi scored a career-high 16 goals in just 65 games with the Avs during the regular season, offense the Sharks most certainly could have used.

No need to be bitter, though. Donskoi broke through with San Jose, and on Colorado, he finds himself on one of the favorites to win it all.

Brenden Dillon

The hard-hitting defenseman was a fixture on the Sharks' blue line for the majority of six seasons, and when it became clear San Jose wasn't headed to the playoffs, he was sent to the Washington Capitals at the trade deadline. The Caps ended their Stanley Cup drought two seasons ago, and enter the playoffs with a legitimate chance to make it two cups in three years.

Sharks fans have a reason to cheer for Washington beyond the fact that Dillon now plays there. In return for Dillon, San Jose received a 2020 second-round draft pick via Colorado as well as the Capitals' 2021 third-round pick. However, if the Caps win it all, that 2021 third-rounder turns into a 2020 third-rounder (belonging to the Arizona Coyotes).

Justin Braun

After spending the first nine seasons of his NHL career in San Jose, Braun was shipped to the Philadelphia Flyers last offseason in exchange for a 2019 second-round pick and 2020 third-round selection.

A steady performer on the blue line, he brings ample playoff experience to the table -- 84 games to be exact. The Flyers finished in the top four of the Eastern Conference prior to the season being halted, and as such, they're not included in the qualifying round. Rather, they'll participate in a round-robin against the Lightning, Boston Bruins and Capitals to determine playoff seeding.

Dylan DeMelo

Sent to the Ottawa Senators as part of the trade package to acquire Erik Karlsson, DeMelo has since been traded again to the Winnipeg Jets prior to the deadline, giving him an opportunity to play for a playoff team.

DeMelo has been a solid performer since leaving San Jose, and as an unrestricted free agent this offseason, it's not out of the question that he could be brought back.

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Thomas Greiss

Selected by the Sharks in the third round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Greiss spent his fourth and final season in San Jose back in 2012-13. He has had his best years since, as the 34-year-old won the William M. Jennings Trophy last season, given annually to the goalie with the fewest goals scored against during the regular season.

Greiss currently is in his fifth season with the New York Islanders, but likely will serve as Semyon Varlamov's backup to begin the playoffs. Another unrestricted free agent this offseason, he potentially could return to the Sharks and provide some competition for Martin Jones.

Eight former Sharks players fans can cheer for when NHL playoffs begin originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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