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(Sports Network) - When the Sharks acquired center Joe Thornton from the Bruins last year, he immediately became the toast of the town.

Thornton and forward Jonathan Cheechoo went on the thrive together, as Thornton lead the league in scoring with 29 goals and 96 assists for 125 points. That performance netted him the Hart Memorial Trophy while Cheechoo was the recipient of Thornton's playmaking ability and scored a career-high 56 goals, tops in the league.

But lost in the shuffle of San Jose's success was center Patrick Marleau. Pushed off spotlight centering duties, Marleau didn't have a poor season last year by any account. He tallied 34 goals and 52 assists for 86 points, all career highs. One drawback was his minus-12 rating.

But with the arrival of Thornton and the emergence of Cheechoo, Marleau was forced into the shadows of the Sharks' offense.

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