San Jose Sharks 2017-2018 Season Preview
Can San Jose make it back to the Finals?
The San Jose Sharks Finished the 2016-2017 regular season with 99 points, good enough for third place in the Pacific Division. In the postseason the team made a quick exit, losing to the Edmonton Oilers in the first round. The team will look to make a run to the finals like they did in 2015-2016 season. The San Jose Sharks 2017-2018 Season Preview looks to see if the team can make it back to where they were two seasons ago.
The largest difference between the 2017-2018 San Jose Sharks and the San Jose Sharks for the past 19 years is that this season the team will not feature Patrick Marleau, who is now a member of the Maple Leafs. The second overall pick in the 1997 NHL Draft posted 46 points for San Jose last year and his presence on the wing will be missed this year. The loss of the likely future hall of famer leaves the Sharks with little depth on the wings. While the right side still features Joe Pavelski, there are not many others who are expected to contribute large offense numbers. Pavelski was second on the team in scoring last season, posting 29 goals and 39 assists for 68 points. The next highest scoring winger was Joel Ward who managed 29 points. San Jose hopes that they can expect more scoring from Mikkel Boedker, who netted 10 goals and 26 points last year. This number was down from his point total the year prior when he registered 51 in one less game played. He will be expected to help fill the void left by Marleau. The Sharks will also look for some of their younger wingers such as Melker Karlsson, Jonas Donskoi, and Timo Meier to develop their scoring touches. Veterans Joel Ward and Jannik Hansen will also be counted on to contribute offensively.
While the wings may not look amazingly deep on paper, the Sharks still have amazing depth down the center of the ice. Joe Thornton was able to be resigned this summer. Along with Thornton the roster features Logan Coture, who had a 25-goal season in 2016-2017 along with 52 points. Tomas Hertl and Chris Tierny add depth at center for the third and fourth lines. Hertl will look to prove that he can produce like he did two years ago, when he put up 21 goals and 46 points in the 2015-2016 season.
This team’s offense will likely be one of, if not the only, to be paced by a defenseman. The reigning Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns led all Defensemen in both goals and points with 29 and 76 respectively in the 2016-2017 season. Burns also led the entire Sharks roster last season in points and was tied with Pavelski for the team lead in goals.
The Sharks finished fifth in the league in goals against per game last season with 2.44, in a large part to their solid shut down d-men. Marc-Eduard Vlasic is expected to play a shutdown role be one of the team’s heavier minute eaters on the back end. Vlasic has been a staple on the Sharks blue line for the past 11 seasons and continues to play an extremely well rounded and solid game for the team. Along with Vlasic, Paul Martin is expected to provide shutdown defense. The NHL veteran of 13 years has been an effective defensive defenseman for his entire career and can be counted on by the Sharks to continue doing so.
Justin Braun and Brendan Dillon are expected to round out the top 4 and top 6 respectively, while Dylan Demelo will provide depth. Overall the San Jose blue line features a deep corps of veteran defenders who will play smart, solid hockey night in and night out.
Martin Jones put in a solid campaign during the 2016-2017 season. Jones started 65 games for the team, posting a 2.40 GAA and .912 save percentage. Along with his regular season, Jones had another great post-season despite the team’s early exit. Just one year after carrying the team to the Stanley Cup Finals, Jones put up great numbers in the team’s first round loss to Edmonton, compiling a .935 save percentage and a 1.75 GAA.
Backing up Jones for the second straight year will be Aaron Dell. Dell only played 20 games for San Jose in 2016-2017 but played very well in the limited action. Dell put up a .931 save percentage and a 2.00 GAA, both of which were tops in the league among backup goaltenders. The sharks could possibly give Dell a few more starts this season to ease to load on Martin Jones.
San Jose Sharks 2017-2018 Season Preview: Overall Outlook
San Jose’s biggest loss this offseason came from the departure of Patrick Marleau. Despite this move, the roster remains mostly unchanged from last year. The team still has great depth down the middle of the ice, a deep defense featuring the current Norris Trophy winner, and a solid starter and backup combo in net. Despite the strength of the Western Conference look for San Jose to challenge for a playoff position this year again, and possibly put together a run in the playoffs if they make it there.
- The Sharks’ biggest loss this offseason was the departure of Patrick Marleau, which has decreased the team’s depth on the wings
- The team’s offense will likely be paced once again by defenseman Brent Burns, who can be counted on to produce for the team
- San Jose still has the makings of a playoff team despite the loss of Marleau. They have great goaltending, depth down the center of the ice, and a deep defensive corps