2011-2012 Preview: San Jose Sharks

Posted: September 24, 2011 by JoeyD in NHL, San Jose Sharks
Tags: , , , ,

Last season: 48-25-9 105 pts, 1st Pacific, 2nd Western Conference

Additions: Brent Burns, Jim Vandermeer, Michal Handzus, Martin Havlat, Ben Guite, Andrew Murray, Colin White

Losses: Jamal Mayers, Ben Eager, Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle, Scott Nichol, Niclas Wallin, Kyle Wellwood, Kent Huskins, Ian White, Dany Heatley

Offense: There was a bit of a shake up at the Tank this off season that seen Setoguchi and Heatley jettisoned and seeing the additions of Martin Havlat and Michal Handzus to the fold. All in all, I can see this ending up pretty close to a washout since Heatley does seem to be on the downslide of his career. Despite a few changes with the likes of Thornton, Clowe, Marleau, Couture and Pavelski, I pretty much see business as usual for the Sharks on the offensive end of things.

Defense: The addition of Brent Burns, and his reptile collection, along with Dan Boyle  will provide a good punch from the blueline. Add rising Jason Demers and the thunder from Douglas Murray and you have a solid defense that should do just fine holding the opposition just enough to let the goalies and offense do their things.

Goaltending: While it took a while for Antti Niemi to take a foothold on the Shark crease last season, he should start the season pretty well from where he left off. Perhaps you can consider Neimi and Niitymaki both solid if unspectacular but sometimes that is all you need and just to get hot at the right times.

Standout Player: Joe Pavelski

It has been seemingly having a slow but steady transition into Little Joe’s team of late and that isn’t a bad thing, thats a good thing. OK maybe I should apologize for using a Diamond Dallas Page reference there but it works. Modest improvements to his scoresheet makes 75 points a very high possibility. And with a Big Joe getting older, having someone ready to step in with the production is of massive help.

Prediction: 1st Pacific, 2nd Western Conference

All in all, the Sharks didn’t change a whole lot and I thought massaged their roster well. I’ve often come away impressed with the moves Wilson does and this year is no different. I see them holding on to the Pacific this year and while I have them in 2nd in the conference, it is quite possible they could be top dog as well. Most of the top teams in the West have parted with a top defensemen (Van – Ehrhoff, Det – Rafalski) and could make the West race even closer…as if it could get any closer. The Kings will be nipping at their heels the whole season waiting for the slip up that could flip flop the Pacific for good so the Sharks should maintain motivation or suffer the consequences.

  1. petshark says:

    Interesting points about Pavelski. Not sure I see him stepping into Jumbo’s place but he is certainly an important part of the team.

    I agree that losing Heatley and Seto probably won’t leave a big hole in the Sharks scoring but I think the blue line changes will make a pretty big difference. If you just consider Huskins & Wallin versus Burns & White, that change alone is pretty big. It won’t only take work off Boyle’s hands but may give the forwards some help too. I guess I’m saying that I expect scoring to go up considerably.

    Thanks for helping me work that out;) Nice post.

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