Western Conference Preview: San Jose Sharks
As we take a tour around the Western Conference, we’ve already discussed the Flames, Oilers, Canucks and Coyotes. Now, let’s look at the tumultuous San Jose Sharks.
Additions: Scott Hannan, Mike Brown, John Scott
Subtractions: Dan Boyle, Marty Havlat
Prospects To Watch: Matt Tennyson, Mirco Mueller, Tye McGinn, Chris Tierney
- Goals: Joe Pavelski – 41
- Assists: Joe Thornton – 65
- Points: Pavelski – 79
- PIM: Andrew Desjardins – 86
- Power Play Points: Pavelski – 31
- Time On Ice per Game: Dan Boyle – 21:16
- 5 on 5 iCORSI: Brent Burns – 355
Earlier this week we asked if there has been a bigger clusterf*** in the NHL than the Vancouver Canucks. Over the last three years? No. But in the last 12 months? The Sharks are the gong show league standard.
Coaching change? Nah. New general manager? Nope. But the regionally-liked television personality? Gone. It was announced in mid-June that Drew Remenda won’t be back as the Sharks color analyst, ending a 13-season run in the booth.
The other unexpected move this summer was the removal of letters from the sweaters of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. The Sharks will open training camp trying to redefine themselves… with the same players, same coach and same general manager who haven’t gotten it done yet.
For the Sharks to get out of the first round of the playoffs this year, Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture need to be on the ice for as many of the 82 games as possible. Couture was limited to 65 games last season, but still registered 23 goals and 31 assists. Hertl burst on the scene, but finished with 15 goals and 10 assists in only 37 games.
One stat that was surprising was the gap between Burns and the rest of the Sharks in 5 on 5 iCORSI last season. The converted defenseman finished the season tied with Jamie Benn of the Stars for fifth in the NHL in the category, 56 points ahead of Marleau. In spite of his offensive production last year, Thornton finished with a 5 on 5 iCORSI of only 142; the closest Blackhawks player to that number was Ben Smith (135).
Former Blackhawk Antti Niemi has been one of the most overworked netminders in the league over the last three years, appearing in 164 games. Alex Stalock posted a .932 save percentage in his 24 appearances last year, and was solid when called upon in the postseason as well.
Prediction: 90 points
This is still a team that can get into the playoffs, and could get out of the first round if they’re healthy and playing well. But the way they handled stripping Thornton and Marleau of their formal leadership positions was poorly executed and their lack of quality defensemen will ultimately be their downfall.
3 thoughts on “Western Conference Preview: San Jose Sharks”
The Shark have always been near the top of the League in Points year after year. I don’t see why this doesn’t continue. Dan Boyle and Marty Halvat aren’t big loses and another year with more Coulture and Hertle should be good. Micro Mueller is a prospect to watch and is he is half as good as Thomas Hertle they should have a good prospect to replace Boyle.
Niemi will continue to be who he is a above average NHL goalie. I am not sure about Stalock but I think this team gets it done again in the regular season. I would probably have them ahead of LA again. If not for Pickles getting knocked out they most likely would have knocked out the Kings in the 1st round last season.
SSHM – It’s not regular season point totals that count, it’s what you do in the playoffs. The Sharks 3-0 collapse to the Kings is par for the course for this SJ team. They are the biggest choke artists in the NHL. I don’t care what they look like on paper, they have been the poster child for falling apart when it counts most.
“Even sharks need water”
-die hard 5