Sharks drafted Marleau in part due to wacky dance floor story


Patrick Marleau was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1997 NHL Draft by the Sharks and became a legend for the franchise.

However, in an alternate universe, San Jose doesn't pick the Saskatchewan native and retire his No. 12, considering the Sharks' head of scouting at the time had eyes for another player.

“John Ferguson Sr. is head of scouting for the San Jose Sharks, and he loved Olli Jokinen,” former NHL GM Doug MacLean said on The Bob McCown Podcast (h/t The Hockey Beast). “Absolutely loved Olli Jokinen. He had the second pick of the draft, and all year long: Olli Jokinen, Olli Jokinen, Olli Jokinen.”

However, Ferguson had an odd interaction with the Finnish player, resulting in the Sharks eventually opting to go with Marleau over Jokinen. 

“And then at the World Championships, ‘Fergie’ was downstairs at a hotel in Finland, where we used to all hang out at the World Championships in Helsinki,” MacLean continued. “Fergie is down there, late in the evening or early into the morning, and he looks out at the floor and he sees Olli Jokinen shuffling around the dance floor.

“He goes up to Olli and he says, ‘Hey young fellow, you should get your ass home.’ And Olli gave him a look like, ‘Get lost old man, I’m having fun.’ He’s lucky he’s still alive, firstly. Secondly, Fergie goes back to the San Jose meetings, and he says, ‘We are not taking Olli Jokinen. Not a chance. Instead, we’re going to drop down and take Patrick Marleau.’ ”

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Jokinen did have a lengthy NHL career, playing 17 seasons in the league. Nonetheless, he didn’t have the offensive production that Marleau had, as Jokinen played in 1,231 games, recording 321 goals, 429 assists and 750 points. 

The interaction on the dance floor was a blessing for San Jose as Marleau played 21 seasons with the franchise. The 6-foot-2 forward played in 1,607 games, recording 522 goals, 589 assists and 1,111 points for the Sharks, and became a marquee name for hockey in the area. 

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