The San Jose Sharks will be competing in a new-look division for the upcoming NHL season. Leading up to the start of the season, we’ll be looking at how the Sharks’ lineup compares to each team in their division.
We’ve already released two articles in this series, which you can read here:
In today’s article, we’ll compare the Sharks to the St. Louis Blues.
Vladimir Tarasenko is injured once again and won’t be ready to start the season but the Blues did add Mike Hoffman to help mitigate the loss up front. New captain Ryan O’Reilly will be counted on to lead the team, while David Perron, Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz should each provide somewhere between a 60 and 70 point pace (per 82 games).
The Sharks have their own capable forwards, however, as Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane and Timo Meier will all provide quality scoring at the top of San Jose’s lineup. Unfortunately for the Sharks, it’s the depth where the Blues take the edge.
Robert Thomas should continue to develop after a 52-point pace last season, while Tyler Bozak, Zach Sanford, Oskar Sundqvist and others provide depth scoring. While the Blues don’t have a huge advantage, they do have the better forward group on paper
The Blues may have lost Alex Pietrangelo but adding Torey Krug as a replacement is a pretty good consolation prize. Colton Parayko should take on a larger role, while Justin Faulk may get a better opportunity with Pietrangelo gone as well. Marco Scandella has upped his game since joining the Blues and should round out the top-four group, while Vince Dunn should keep developing and Robert Bortuzzo and Carl Gunnarson will add solid depth.
The Sharks may have bigger names on their blue line, in the form of Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson, but that doesn’t make them the better defensive team. The duo struggled in their own end last season and veteran Marc-Edouard Vlasic also took a step back. They don’t have much depth after that either, as Mario Ferraro is still developing and Radim Simek has played only 89 NHL games across two seasons.
The Blues did lose some depth with the departure of Jake Allen but Jordan Binnington will give the Blues solid goaltending once again. He did have just a .912 save percentage last season but after his 2018-19 performance, where he played a key role in St. Louis winning the Stanley Cup, we can underestimate Binnington. For the Sharks, while Devan Dubnyk could help San Jose’s goaltending situation, we still can’t be sure and probably shouldn’t bet on the team getting better goaltending than what Binnington will provide for the Blues.
Despite losing their captain, the Blues will still be a strong team this year and unfortunately, the Sharks will have trouble finishing ahead of St. Louis.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Do you think the Sharks will finish ahead of the Blues in the standings this season?