Regular Season: The Sharks did what the Sharks generally do. Not really at risk of missing the playoffs, but closer than they would have liked. The Sharks finished in the 6th seed in the Western Conference.
Playoffs: After getting through the Canucks like a hot knife through butter in the first round, the Sharks couldn’t find a way to get a road win in round two, and bowed out to the Kings in a series that had all 7 games won by the home team.
Ready To Make The Jump: G Alex Stalock
BIG 3 FACTORS
1. Couture’s Team: Last season’s playoffs signified to me the transfer of the torch from Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle to a new leadership group led by Logan Couture. While the old guard is still around and still contribute, the new wave of Couture, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns is taking over. Maybe this new breath of fresh air
2. Status Quo: There was very little turnover on the Sharks roster, so there will not be much getting to know each other. That continuity will help the Sharks. The pressure will be on Antti Niemi, because he has a very unproven backup behind him and will likely be counted on for 70+ games.
3. Tougher Division?: Not only will the Sharks have to contend with their stately rivals, they will also have the Canucks to contend with. The Sharks shouldn’t take a step back in the new alignment and should be a lock for the post-season. Finding a way to get over the hump in the playoffs should be the concern of coach Todd McLellan.
PROGNOSIS: With Thornton, Boyle and Marleau at the tail end of their prime, and Couture, Burns and Pavlelski entering it, this could be the year that the Sharks get it done. If they don’t, it might be time to part ways with the old three and get younger. Not to mention the underwhelming injury prone performance of Martin Havlat. They should battle with the Ducks and Kings at the top of the Pacific.
PREDICTION: 2nd Pacific Division
We have been and will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th. As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings. Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):
|1||Sept 9||Sept 8||Sept 7||Sept 6|
|2||Sept 5||Sept 4||Sept 3||Sharks|