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2018-2019 NHL Preview: San Jose Sharks

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Welcome Erik Karlsson.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2017-2018 standings. Twenty-Ninth up are the San Jose Sharks, currently in their 27th year in the NHL, they made the playoffs each of the last three years. After the Stanley Cup finals where they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, in 2016 they were ousted in the first round of the playoffs to the Oilers the next season followed by a second round loss to the Golden Knights last season.

2017 – 2018 NHL Stats:

NHL Standings: 10th
Goals for Rank: 12th
Goals against Rank: 9th
PP Rank: 15th
PK Rank: 2nd

Projected 2018-2019 NHL Stats

NHL Standings: 3rd
Western Conference Standings: 2nd
Pacific Division Standings: 1st
Coach: Peter DeBoer (137-86-23 regular season with San Jose; 22-18 playoffs)
354-286-84 regular season all time; 36-28 playoffs)

Overview:

The Sharks, a powerhouse year in and out for the greater part of the last 15 years, just got Erik Karlsson. We could see Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson on a line together, that is amazing to conceptualize. Typically I start the overview with the forward line but this dynamic duo is so strong I’ll go to San Jose’s defense first. Even factoring in the remainder of the defensive corps Joakim Ryan, Brenden Dillon, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun who are fairly average, the top heavy nature makes this a top 5 defensive unit. The offensive addition of Evander Kane emboldens a top six that already holds an aging but strong populace of Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier (three of them are 29 or older). Some hefty weight will fall upon Timo Meier, Joonas Donskoi and Kevin Labanc as they mature and grow. Kevin was ok but not the dominant force I expected after his strong October in 2017 where he scored 6 points in his first 7 games. In net, Martin Jones posted a 2.55 GAA (17th in NHL) and .915 Sv % (21st in NHL) across 60 games played, 30 of which he won. This marked a fourth straight year where his GAA increased (with his win total decreasing); however his save percentage generally holds tight. A good goalie, I will be curious to see if he can turn the trend around and bring his GAA into the top 15 and his win total back into the top 10. This is an experienced team above anything else, from coach to players they have seen their fair share of regular season and playoff games, the addition of Erik Karlsson should give them a much needed boost to sit them as one of the very top teams in the league this year.

Major Additions:

Erik Karlsson, Evander Kane

Major Subtractions:

Dylan Demelo, Chris Tierney, Mike Hoffman and Eric Fehr

Prospects and Picks:

-Ryan Merkley. As potentially the most divisive pick in the first round of the 2018 NHL draft, Ryan was selected 21st by the San Jose Sharks as a player with immense talent but also a serious attitude problem. All tales out of camp show he is being receptive to advice from older players and eager to learn. If he can keep his mind right he can be a steal from this draft.

-Jeremy Roy. Taken 31st overall in 2015 by the Sharks, Jeremy worked his way up to the AHL last season where he put up 8 points in 20 games. He has great on ice vision and he has quick feet and quick shot help deceive goalies. He needs to build up a bit and drive more physical play as he works his way up the organizations teams.

Sleeper Fantasy Asset:

-Most of the team? The top three players in points last year Burns (67 points last season), Pavelski (66), Couture (61) should go higher (as Burns and Pavelski regressed in 2017-2018 from the previous season in 2016-2017). Hertl (46 points) Labanc (40), Thornton (36) and Meier (36) all likely will go higher too. I think there is potential across most of this team to increase their point production this season.

Cap Situation:

$59MM Spent; $17M in Cap room; 18 players signed; average team age 28.

Poll

Will Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson finish 1st and 2nd in defenseman points this year?

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    Yes
    (26 votes)
  • 21%
    No
    (7 votes)
33 votes total Vote Now