Thornton is slated to center a line with Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane on the wings. Kane was picked up at the trade deadline last year, and decided to re-sign with the Sharks in the offseason. He fit very well in San Jose after the deal, with 14 points in 17 games as a Shark, bringing his season point total to 54 in 78 total games played. Pavelski finished second in scoring on the Sharks roster with 66 points in 82 games played and was also second in time on ice among the team’s forwards.
San Jose’s core of forwards is rounded out by Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier. Hertl matched his career high in points with 46 on the season last year. Meier was the Sharks’ first selection in the 2015 draft, being selected ninth overall. In his first full NHL season, the swiss winger had 21 goals and 36 points. Our 2018 San Jose Sharks season preview projects that both could see increased productivity during the year.
San Jose’s defense is also headed by Brent Burns. Burns not only led the Sharks in time on ice (25:15 minutes per game), but also in total points. He had 67 points in the entire 82 games slate from the backend, which was second among all NHL defensemen. Burns plays a key role not only in defensive aspects of the game, but is a vital part of the Sharks’ offense. Between Karlsson and Burns, our 2018 San Jose Sharks season preview finds that San Jose has two defensemen that are expected to finish near the top of the league in scoring.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic is also a key player for the team on the backend. Vlasic plays one of the best shutdown games in the league. He was second on the roster in time on ice (22:33 minutes per game), and led the NHL in blocked passes all while playing against opponents top lines.
The Sharks’ defense is rounded out by Justin Braun and Brendan Dillon. Braun averaged the third most minutes on the team with 21:20 per game. He also had 33 points and a +7 plus-minus rating on the season. Dillon had 22 points and was fourth among the team’s defensemen in scoring.
Aaron Dell saw action in 29 contests during the 2017-2018 season. He had a 2.64 GAA and a .913 save percentage. While his stats did take a hit compared to his rookie year, Dell was solid in his second NHL season. If Dell is able to take on a similar workload this season, our 2018 San Jose Sharks season preview notes that the Sharks will play few games where goaltending is an issue.
2018 San Jose Sharks Season Preview: Outlook
2018 San Jose Sharks Season Preview: Prediction
Finish: 1st in the Pacific Division