Patrick Marleau retirement: Does the former Sharks star belong in the Hall of Fame?

One of the greatest players to play in the 21st century has elected to hang up the skates. Patrick Marleau announced his retirement Tuesday. 

After going unsigned last summer, the longtime Sharks forward made his retirement official with a story in The Players' Tribune. 

Marleau thanked his family, teammates, coaches and a plethora of others in the letter, while also taking time to reflect on his time in the NHL. 

"It’s bittersweet for sure, but I have so much to look forward to. Who knows what the world has in store for me. If you would have told that kid on the frozen pond that he would break a games-played record held by none other than Gordie Howe, he would have thought you were crazy. It was never something I aimed for; it was just me loving this game so much that I never, ever wanted to hang up my skates. I am beyond lucky to have had the career I had, but I did not get here by myself."

No doubt he was one of the best players of this century. Marleau was the second overall draft pick by the Sharks in 1997, and he became one of the main reasons for the franchise's success during the last decade. 

Now comes the question that every fan has to ask when a player retires — does Patrick Marleau deserve to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

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The biggest hole in Marleau's resume is the elusive Stanley Cup. He never was able to win one while in San Jose, nor was he able to get one in Toronto or Pittsburgh. He joins a long list of great players to never hoist the Stanley Cup. 

Marleau also never received individual accolades. No Hart Trophies, no Selkes, nothing. He received votes for numerous awards during his career, including being a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy in 2006. But outside of six All-Star selections, Marleau never received any honors. 

Though he does not have a Stanley Cup, the Saskatchewan native does own two Olympic gold medals, winning with Canada in 2010 and 2014. 

He is high on the all-time scoring and goals lists, but the strongest Hall of Fame argument for Marleau is that no other player has competed in more games.

In the 2020-21 season, Marleau broke Gordie Howe's record by playing in game No. 1,768. By the end of the season, Marleau had pushed the record to 1,779. 

Marleau is one of just five players to play in 900 consecutive games and he is fifth all time in consecutive games played. His durability was not just a key reason for him surpassing Mr. Hockey, but also for his success in the NHL. 

But is that enough to make him worthy of the honor of induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame? Let's look at his career and you can be the judge. 

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Patrick Marleau career stats

During Marleau's 23 seasons in the NHL, he racked up a number of goals in both the regular season and the postseason. He ranked in the top 25 in career goals and career playoff goals. 

But the record he is most known for is games played. Marleau is first on the all-time list after passing Howe last season. It's a record that will likely have some legs to it; the two active players behind Marleau are Joe Thornton and Zdeno Chara, who are both more than 60 games behind him and likely facing retirement in the near future. 

Outside of that, he also is in the top 50 in NHL history in a number of other categories. 

CATEGORYSTATALL-TIME RANK
Games played1,7791st
Goals56623rd
Assists 63181st
Points1,19750th
Playoff games played19525th
Playoff goals72T-14th
Playoff assists55T-122nd
Playoff points127T-49th

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Patrick Marleau's Sharks franchise records

While it's not a sure thing that Marleau will end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame, it's very likely that he'll have his numbers put up in the rafters by the Sharks. 

He is regarded as one of the greatest San Jose players of all time; he and Joe Thornton are 1A and 1B in the argument of greatest player to wear a Sharks jersey. 

Marleau spent parts of 21 seasons with the Sharks, two seasons with the Maple Leafs and eight games with the Penguins. 

During his time in the Bay Area, Marleau climbed to the top of a number of lists in the Sharks' history book. 

Here are the categories where Marleau ranks first for San Jose. 

CATEGORYSTAT
Games played1,607
Goals522
Points1,111
Even-strength goals342
Power-play goals163
Short-handed goals17
Game-winning goals101
Shots3,953
Author(s)
Bryan Murphy is an NHL Content Producer for The Sporting News. He previously worked at NBC Sports and is a graduate of Quinnipiac University.