San Jose Sharks Preview for 2018

PuckTalkCS
By PuckTalkCS July 31, 2017 14:32

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San Jose Sharks Preview

 

PuckTalk has been inactive for the most part in the last 3 weeks. With the dog days of summer upon us we will be returning with both episodes and articles to go over team by team breakdowns.

 

One team in particular that is a consistent contender in the post season is the San Jose Sharks. Burnsy and the boys need should be okay with sealing a post season birth yet again. San Jose’s core has remained the same for quite some time, and offseason movement has shown the team will look different in a few years.

 

Recently NHL Network has come out with their breakdowns which we thoroughly enjoyed. A majority was enlightening, but expert Mike Johnson did not take notice of a concern we feel San Jose should have next season. The left wing is bare. Hansen has NHL experience but is a complimentary veteran depth point producer. Joonas Donskoi has limited NHL experience and had a fairly disappointing campaign in 2017 (61 GP, 6 goals, 11 assists, 2 playoff assists/points). The player famous for his overtime winner in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final has a reputation for missing on 1 too many scoring opportunities from night to night. Timo Mier has the ideal frame for the NHL level of play but still has to prove himself, just like the left wing must prove they can be productive and deep. After looking at every player, followed by observing the whole picture, not much is coming from this side of the ice.

 

The center corpse is already not as deep due to Marleaus departure. Thornton worked through injuries last season, and has shown he can be an assist man but by no means a goal scoring center. Jumbo’s 2017 campaign showed a tremendous ability to find time and space for his teammates, but never seems to option his shot despite it potentially having the superior result. Vision is his game and passing is his name. Logan Couture is another stud in San Jose that most franchises search desperately to find. The two-way center with a goal scoring touch is not easy to find, and most franchises label players a number one center without the player’s ability filling the requirements to be one, therefore not finishing their end of the bargain. Couture could put up a maximum of 60 points this season, but yet again goal scoring down the slot is a problem. 25 goals are an ideal number for a franchise center (comparable to Toews, Tavares), but his lack of explosive speed, the extra step, prevents a potential 30+ goal scoring rate. Tomas Hertl finds consistency in the span of October- seasons end for San Jose, but struggles to carry a consistency from one season to the next. After a disappointing season in 2016-17, his upside must take him to a more productive 20 goal year. Tierney is a center with many skills which is one of the notable pluses. Yes, his role is not appealing, but he possesses excellent skill in all three zones, adds additional scoring, and is the team’s best penalty killing forward. In whatever lens you look at the centers in San Jose with, this could be a positive or a negative heading into next season.

 

On the right side we have Pavelski, Ward, Boedkker, and Karlsson. Captain Joe Pavelski may be the most well rounded player on the team. His ability to shift from wing to center, hockey senses, and ability to quickly change roles from setup man to find space and score in the clutch has proved incredible. What’s the book on Joey P? Scoring slumps typically come at the wrong time or in a time where his talents are needed the most. Joel Ward has added strength, size, and an aggressive forecheck ability unique to his skill set. Inconsistency haunts Ward, in all areas of the game which may be the biggest concern. Ward is a playoff behemoth and if San Jose can reach that point his “bunch scoring” will be an asset to the roster. Boedkker is an odd case. Since his arrival to San Jose he has not produced at the rate he typically produces. The former ‘yotes speed is yet another asset on this wing that is vital to have in the game with the rise of speed vs speed play. Melker Karlsson (not to be confused with William or Erik) has put up a solid on average 20-point total. No big shakes there.

 

Defense should not be a problem. The last pairing will have sheltered minutes, and the top four competes with the best in the league. Vlasic signed an 8-year extension and has proved to be one of the best two-way defenseman in the league. Brent Burns is incredibly skilled in the offensive zone and won the Norris Trophy for 2017 as the best defenseman in the league. Burns could use his sheer monstrous size to his advantage more especially in the defensive zone, but for an offensive defenseman to post 29 goals and be the first defenseman with back to back 75 point seasons since Brian Leetch. Justin Braun has a fantastic shot and shutdown ability as well which he will continue with ease next season. Paul Martin has the endurance of a marathon runner, and can mobilize at a better rate than any of his defensive partners. His play will decline but the rest of the defense will be able to conceal his hopefully slow production decline. Martin Jones in net recently signed a contract for 8 years, he is a fan favorite at PTCS. Jones showed struggle with his five hole against Edmonton in the 2017 playoffs, and couldn’t get the job done after an impressive 2016 final appearance. Jones moving forward will be a staple in San Jose, but still needs to prove he can play regularly during the season and continue to thrive in the playoffs.

 

Overall, the Ducks always seem to win the Pacific, but San Jose is always a contender. They were upset by the Oilers in 2017, moving forward to this season the Sharks should not only make the playoffs and finish out strong in the Pacific, but be in the mix for another cup run. It’s a tough call.

 

PuckTalkCS
By PuckTalkCS July 31, 2017 14:32
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