We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects.
Today, we take a look at the San Jose Sharks.
By: Andy Hughes
San Jose Sharks
2013 Season: 25-16-7, 57 pts (3rd Pacific Division, 6th Western Conference)
Free Agents Signed:
RW Peterr Emanuelsson from Sweden
Free Agents Lost:
C Scott Gomez to Florida
LW Tim Kennedy to Phoenix
C Jonathan Matsumoto to Florida
G Thomas Greiss to Phoenix
2013 second-round pick to Pittsburgh for RW Tyler Kennedy
D Lee Moffie to Edmonton for D Kyle Bigos
LW T.J. Galiardi to Calgary for 2015 fourth-round pick
C Tomas Hertl
G Alex Stalock
LW Matthew Nieto
D Matt Tennyson
C Freddie Hamilton
The San Jose Sharks have always been a great team in the regular season. They have clinched a playoff berth in each of the last nine seasons. However, the team has struggled to make it far in the postseason with many early playoff exits. After sweeping the Vancouver Canucks in the first round last season, the Sharks took the defending champion Los Angeles Kings to seven games. They lost Game 7, but a large amount of that team will return in 2013-14, which gives San Jose fans some hope.
San Jose did not lose too many big pieces this offseason. C Scott Gomez signed a deal with the Florida Panthers while LW Tim Kennedy signed with the Phoenix Coyotes. In addition, LW T.J. Galiardi was traded to the Calgary Flames. Obviously, the Sharks lost a lot of forward depth with those three subtractions. General Manager Doug Wilson wasted no time at the 2013 NHL Draft in addressing that need. He was able to acquire RW Tyler Kennedy from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a second-round pick. Kennedy won a Stanley Cup in 2009 with Pittsburgh, but was a healthy scratch for several playoff games in 2013. He definitely needed a change of scenery and will most likely start on San Jose’s third line, a role he is very familiar with. Other than that, Wilson did not bring in many impact players from outside the organization. He was busy locking up C Logan Couture and C Joe Pavelski to long-term contracts. Both Pavelski and Couture signed five-year, $30 million contracts with the Sharks. Therefore, San Jose now has two of their talented centers signed long-term.
Looking at the big picture, the Sharks should be able to compete for a playoff spot again in 2013-14. C Joe Thornton, who led the team in scoring last year with 40 points, will return along with Couture and Pavelski. However, this is the last year of Thornton’s contract that carries a $7 million cap hit. LW Patrick Marleau will also return to San Jose this season, looking to get back to where he was at the beginning of last season. RW Martin Havlat underwent surgery to repair his groin over the offseason and may not be able to start the season on time, which leaves an opening in the Sharks’ top-six. C Tomas Hertl, who was selected 17th overall by the Sharks in the 2012 NHL Draft, may be the player that steps up. Hertl played in the Czech league last year and tallied 30 points (18 goals and 12 assists) in 43 games. San Jose was impressed and decided to sign him to a three-year entry-level contract on June 3, 2013. In case you forgot, RW Brent Burns is now a forward. Burns switched from defense to the wing last season and will most likely play in San Jose’s top-six this season.
Defensively, Dan Boyle and Matt Irwin will probably serve as the top pairing. The Sharks will need goaltender Antti Niemi to have a season similar to last year. Niemi led the NHL in wins with 24 and recorded a .924 save-percentage. Overall, the Sharks have some pieces to build a competitive team. However, their depth, especially with the forwards, will be tested. They will be plugging in many young and inexperienced players to fill holes. The health of aging stars such as Thornton and Marleau will also be major keys for the Sharks in 2013-14.
Patrick Marleau-Logan Couture-Tommy Wingels
Tomas Hertl-Joe Thornton-Brent Burns
Raffi Torres-Joe Pavelski-Tyler Kennedy
James Sheppard-Andrew Desjardins-Adam Burish
Matt Irwin-Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Justin Braun
Scott Hannan-Brad Stuart