Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/07/12 at 08:26 PM ET
SAN JOSE – Former San Jose Sharks team Captain Owen Nolan today formally announced his retirement from the game of hockey, following 18 stellar seasons in the National Hockey League.
Nolan, who will be remembered as one of the game’s purest power forwards, played in exactly 1,200 NHL games with Quebec/Colorado, San Jose, Toronto, Phoenix, Calgary and Minnesota, posting 885 points (422 goals, 463 assists) and 1,793 penalty minutes.
He finishes ranked 71st on the NHL’s all-time goals list and among all NHL players with more career NHL goals, only seven have posted more penalty minutes than Nolan (Mark Messier, Brendan Shanahan, Keith Tkachuk, Pat Verbeek, Theo Fleury, Rick Tocchet and Gary Roberts).
Nolan ranks T-33rd all-time in NHL power play goals and T-100th in points (with former teammate Peter Forsberg).
“I was very lucky to be able to play 18 seasons in the National Hockey League,” said Nolan. “I want to thank all of my teammates over those years, along with my friends and family. I also want to thank Doug Wilson and the San Jose Sharks for allowing me the opportunity to step away from the game as a member of the Sharks family.”
Nolan, who turns 40 on Feb. 12, was selected by the Quebec Nordiques as the first overall selection in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. That draft would prove to be one of the deepest in NHL history, with players such as Keith Primeau, Mike Ricci, Jaromir Jagr, Derian Hatcher, Keith Tkachuk and Martin Brodeur following Nolan in the first round.
Acquired by San Jose from Colorado on Oct. 26, 1995 in exchange for defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, Nolan would go on to become one of the top players in San Jose Sharks history, playing 568 games with the Sharks, posting 451 points (206 goals, 245 assists) and 934 penalty minutes. He was named the fifth team captain in franchise history on Oct. 28, 1998.
His finest NHL season came in 1999-00 when he set career-highs in goals (44 – 2nd, NHL), points
(84 – T-6th, NHL), power play goals (18 – 1st, NHL) and finished fifth in voting for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player. That year, he was voted as the “Sharks Player of the Year” by the Bay Area media, leading the team in goals, points, shots (258), power play goals, hits (209), shorthanded goals (4), takeaways (70) and average ice time (21:07). He was named the winner of The Hockey News’ “Intimidation Quotient,” which was a formula based on the number of goals and non-misconduct penalties.
“Owen Nolan was a dominating player on the ice and remains an important member of the history of the San Jose Sharks franchise,” said Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson. “We feel that it is only fitting that he announces the conclusion of a great career as a member of the Sharks family.
“We congratulate Owen, along with his wife, Diana, and their family, on a remarkable career.”
Upon his trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 5, 2003, Nolan left the Sharks as the franchise leader in goals, assists, points, power play goals, shorthanded goals, shots, and hat tricks, and was second all-time in penalty minutes and games played. He still holds franchise single-game records for most points (6 – Oct. 4, 1999 vs. Chicago [3-3=6]), goals (4 – Dec. 19, 1995 at Anaheim) and power play goals in a period (3 – Dec. 19, 1995 at Anaheim).
Currently, Nolan ranks third on the franchise’s all-time scoring list in games played, points and assists, second in goals, power play goals, penalty minutes and T-first in shorthanded goals.
Nolan spent the remainder of the 2002-03 season and 2003-04 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, posting 60 points (26 goals, 34 assists) in 79 games.
Following the labor dispute in 2004-05, he also took the 2005-06 season off to recover from a knee injury but returned to play for the Phoenix Coyotes in 2006-07, under General Manager Mike Barnett, who was also his former long-time player agent.
He spent the 2007-08 season with the Calgary Flames as an alternate captain, helping the team reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs where they were ousted in the Western Conference Quarterfinals in seven games by the Sharks, despite Nolan’s five points (3-2=5) in seven games, including two game-winning goals. He played in his NHL milestone 1,000th NHL game on Oct. 22, 2007 – ironically, also against the Sharks – and collected his 11th and final career hat trick on Jan. 30, 2008 with a short-handed goal and the game-winner against…..the Sharks.
He played his final two NHL seasons with the Minnesota Wild, which included scoring his NHL milestone 400th goal (along with 401) on March 10, 2009 against………..the Sharks.
Nolan appeared in 65 Stanley Cup Playoff games with Quebec, San Jose, Toronto and Calgary, collecting 40 points (21 goals, 19 assists). In 1999-00 during the Western Conference Quarterfinals, he helped the No. 8-seeded Sharks knock off the No. 1-seeded, Presidents’ Trophy-winning St. Louis Blues in seven games. In that series, he had seven points in seven games including five goals (2 game-winners) – none more memorable than his center-ice shot that eluded the Blues goaltender Roman Turek in the waning seconds of the first period of Game Seven.
A five-time NHL All-Star (1992 with Quebec, 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2002 with San Jose), Nolan provided one of the NHL’s most unforgettable All-Star memories at the 1997 contest in San Jose. Carrying the puck in alone on Eastern Conference goaltender Dominik Hasek, Nolan “called his shot,” pointing to the top-right corner of the net and then buried it there for his third goal of the game.
In addition, Nolan had a distinguished international career representing Team Canada. In 2002, he was one of the first eight players named to the men’s Canadian Olympic hockey team, which would go on to win the gold medal at the Salt Lake City Winter Games. He also won a gold medal for Canada at the 1997 World Championships, held in Helsinki.
Nolan and his family will continue to reside in San Jose.
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