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Arturs Irbe




Name: Arturs Irbe
Position: Goaltender
Catches: Left
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 175 lbs
Born: 2/2/67 in Riga, Latvia
Drafted: 1989 by Minn. North Stars; 10th round, 196th overall
Sweater Number: 32

Arturs "The Wall" Irbe is perhaps the most remembered player in the history of the San Jose Sharks. Arturs was taken in the expansion draft in 1991, and began to shape the team from the very first moment he was here.

After spending his first five campaigns with the San Jose Sharks, the 1994 All-Star played for the Dallas Stars, Canucks and now Carolina, where he battles Trevor Kidd for playing time.

In 249 career NHL games, Irbe owns an 88-114-35 record with 13 shutouts and a 3.27 GAA. He was a 10th-round selection by Minnesota (now Dallas) in 1989 before being claimed by San Jose in the 1991 dispersal draft.

The five-foot-eight, 175-pound goaltender played in 22 games in 1995-96 with the Sharks, posting a 4-12-4 record with a 4.59 goals-against average and a .860 save percentage. Irbe played nine of the final 10 games for the Sharks, posting a 3-5-0 record, 3.90 GAA and .940 SV% in that span, after recovering from arthroscopic surgery on knee Feb. 19. Surgery was required after Irbe injured his knee on January 17 while on conditioning assignment (assigned January 4) in Kansas City (IHL). With the Blades, Irbe posted a 1-2-1 record with a 4.24 GAA and a .843 save percentage.

The Riga, Latvia native left the Sharks as the career leader in wins (57), ties (26), minutes (10,286) and games played (183). Irbe's best season was 1993-94 with San Jose when he posted a 30-28-16 record with a 2.86 goals-against average. Appearing in a career and league high 74 games (which at the time was second most played by an NHL goaltender in a single season), Irbe established an NHL record for minutes played by a goaltender in a single season with 4,412 (broken by New Jersey Devils' Martin Brodeur who registered 4,434).

Last season, the 30-year-old Irbe went 14-11-6 with a 2.73 goals-against average in 42 games with the Vancouver Canucks, who finished last in the Pacific Division. He moves to the Hurricanes, who brought up the rear in the Northeast.

No matter where Irbe plays, Sharks fans still love him. He'll always be a Shark in our hearts. ;)

Some of Irbe's greatest achievements during his career:

  • Named Soviet League Rookie of the Year, 1987-88
  • Shared (with G Wade Flaherty) James Norris Memorial Trophy, 1991-92
  • Named to I.H.L. All-Star first team, 1991-92
  • Rated #31 in Hockey Stars Presents "The Top 50 Netminders in Pro Hockey", November 1993
  • Played in 1994 NHL All-Star Game
  • Rated #11 in Hockey Stars Presents "The Top 50 Netminders in Pro Hockey", November 1994
  • Rated #20 in Hockey Stars Presents "The Top 50 Netminders in Pro Hockey", November 1995
  • Career Stats
    Year Team GP W L T GA SO AVG Playoff year GP W L GA SO AVG
    1991-92 SJ 13 2 6 3 48 0 4.47 1991-92 - - - - - -
    1992-93 SJ 36 7 26 0 142 1 4.11 1992-93 - - - - - -
    1993-94 SJ 74 30 28 16 209 3 2.84 1993-94 14 7 7 50 0 3.72
    1994-95 SJ 38 14 19 3 111 4 3.26 1994-95 6 2 4 27 0 5.13
    1995-96 SJ 22 4 12 4 85 0 4.59 1995-96 - - - - - -
    1996-97 DAL 35 17 12 3 88 3 2.69 1996-97 1 0 0 0 0 0
    1997-98 VAN 41 14 11 6 91 2 2.73 1997-98 - - - - - -
    1998-99 CAR 27 12 8 5 57 5 2.15 1998-99 - - - - - -
    Totals ALL 286 100 122 40 831 18 3.15 --- 21 9 11 77 0 4.07

    For more about Arturs, please visit Araw's Unofficial Arturs Irbe Page. My friend Jennifer was kind enough to let me use some of the pictures from her page, so please ask her before taking any!