GDHQNHL15_2pg-San Jose Sharks 1

Buffalo Sabres Gameday HQ

San Jose SHARKS WESTERN CONFERENCE Key Additions: None Key Subtractions: Dan Boyle, Martin Havlat, Brad Stuart Strengths: Scoring, goaltending, puck possession Weaknesses: Power play Offense While the Sharks don’t have any one dominant forward who is a serious contender to win the Hart Trophy, they have done a great job of finding scoring talent to bolster their front lines. San Jose had a down season in 2012-13 as much of the team struggled to put pucks in the net. That was not a problem for the Sharks last year as a number of forwards stepped up their game and helped lead the team to an excellent regular season record of 51-22-9. It starts with the veterans. Joe Pavelski had a career year after moving from the center position to the right wing, scoring 79 points, earning a +23 rating, and playing every game for the third consecutive season. Center Joe Thornton was his typical playmaking self, dishing out 65 assists and setting up teammates like Pavelski. Patrick Marleau had a strong season as well, scoring 70 points while playing at both the left wing and center positions. The Sharks were bolstered by contributions from a number of different sources. Logan Couture had an excellent season once again, scoring 23 goals in 65 games, as did Brent Burns, who scored 48 points and earned a +26 rating while playing the forward position all year. Tommy Wingels contributed nicely from the third line, and rookie Tomas Hertl was a sensation for 37 games before a knee injury ended his season prematurely. All of those players will return this season for San Jose, with Martin Havlat representing the only significant departure. San Jose ended the 2012-13 season with a clear need to improve their depth at the forward position. They clearly found that depth last year, and will now enter the 2014-15 season with three very strong scoring lines. The Sharks figure to continue their goal-scoring success in the upcoming year. Defense One of San Jose’s strengths as an organization over the last decade of playoff appearances has been the consistent presence of quality defensemen, both from an offensive and defensive standpoint. Last season was no exception. Veteran Dan Boyle and Jason Demers made for an excellent offensive pair at the blue line, scoring 36 and 34 points respectively. Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored 24 points and had the team’s highest plus-minus rating at +31 while Matt Irwin chipped in with 18 assists. On the defensive side of the ice, Vlasic in particular had an outstanding season, establishing himself as a shot blocking force who consistently prevented the opponent from getting clean shots. The same could be said of Justin Braun, a big body who also had more than his fair share of blocks. Vlasic and Braun are the PACIFIC DIVISION Joe Pavelski PHOTO/NHL/Getty Images


Buffalo Sabres Gameday HQ
To see the actual publication please follow the link above