We’re less than 31 days away from the beginning of the 2017/18 season. Today we continue to dive into the 31 NHL teams in alphabetical order, take a look at their previous standings and upcoming season predictions, as well as their key additions and subtractions. Yesterday we looked at the St. Louis Blues, today we look at a franchise at a crossroads, it’s the San Jose Sharks.
2016/17 record: 46/29/7
Key additions: Playing time for young players (No additions but still have 8.7 million in cap space)
2017/18 prediction: Out in the first round of the playoffs.
In an off season where Patrick Marleau walked out the door, what did the San Jose Sharks do? Nothing, and you know what? This writer thinks it might be the best thing for them. Martin Jones has proven he can be their number one goaltender of the now and the future winning 30+ games in back to back seasons for the Sharks. In tandem with Aaron Dell they have formed a great 1-2 in net. Brent Burns won the Norris Trophy for being the top defensemen in the league last season, and at 32 should be primed to repeat his production this coming season. Constructing a team from the net out is what most General Managers aimed to do but Doug Wilson has left a lot of question marks up front and is hoping his young guys will make the leap.
One of those young guns expected to step up is Timo Meier. When the Sharks selected Meier in the 2015 draft with the 9th overall pick, he fit what the Sharks aimed to do and still aim to do: combine size, grit and enough finesse to beat you on the scoreboard and into the ice. After splitting time between the NHL and AHL last year Meier should be primed to take a full time role for the team and pump young blood into the Sharks.
With the west being as competitive as ever; the Sharks could be one of those teams post Olympics that take a look at veteran Jaromir Jagr if he doesn’t sign a deal before then. If the youth movement doesn’t provide the necessary scoring Jagr could be an option Doug Wilson looks to rather then trading away young assets.
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