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West Division Comparison: Sharks/Golden Knights

January 8, 2021, 6:27 PM ET [2 Comments]
Ben Shelley
San Jose Sharks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me on Twitter: @BenShelley_20
Follow HockeyBuzz Sharks Twitter: @HB_Sharks


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 four articles in this series, which you can read here:

- Sharks/Avalanche Comparison
- Sharks/Blues Comparison
- Sharks/Kings Comparison
- Sharks/Wild Comparison

In today’s article, we’ll compare the Sharks to the Vegas Golden Knights.



FORWARDS

Vegas has five forwards who should produce the majority of their offense in William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Max Pacioretty, Reilly Smith and Mark Stone. Both Pacioretty and Stone were on pace for over 75 points (per 82 games) last season, while Karlsson, Marchessault and Smith were all on pace for between 55 and 65 points.



This is similar to San Jose’s situation, where their top four forwards, in Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane and Timo Meier will need to produce the bulk of the Sharks’ offense. For secondary scoring, Vegas has Cody Glass, Chandler Stephenson and Alex Tuch, among others, while the Sharks will count on Ryan Donato, Kevin Labanc and Patrick Marleau. The difference to me is that Vegas has one more key top-six forward than the Sharks do and while the gap here really isn’t all that significant, Vegas has an edge.

Advantage: Golden Knights



DEFENSE

Vegas signed the biggest free agent of the offseason this year, with the addition of Alex Pietrangelo from the St. Louis Blues. They did have to part with Nate Schmidt but Shea Theodore is coming off the best season of his career (at least statistically) and the team also acquired Alec Martinez at the trade deadline. Between the three, they have the edge on San Jose’s big-three, in Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Brayden McNabb can also play around 20 minutes per game for Veas, while Carl Dahlstrom, Nick Holden and Zach Whitecloud provide depth. This beats out San Jose’s depth of Mario Ferraro and Radim Simek.

Advantage: Golden Knights



GOALTENDING

With the acquisition of Robin Lehner, Vegas is quite a ways ahead of San Jose when it comes to goaltending. Lehner posted a .930 save percentage in the 2018-19 season, followed by a .920 save percentage last year. Marc-Andre Fleury may be declining but he still provides a solid backup option. If the Golden Knights hadn’t brought in Lehner, a Fleury vs. Dubnyk/Jones comparison could be fairly even. With Lehner, however, Vegas is ahead this area.

Advantage: Golden Knights



The Golden Knights should once again be one of the top teams in the division and the addition of Alex Pietrangelo is only going to help their chances. They’ll have the edge on the Sharks and should probably be expected to finish higher in the standings.



***NOTE: We've launched a HockeyBuzz Sharks Twitter account! For anyone interested, you can follow @HB_Sharks for updates on articles, Sharks news, etc.***

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 Golden Knights in the standings this season?
Yes
No


Created with Quiz Maker

OTHER SHARKS ARTICLES FROM JANUARY:

Breaking down the Sharks’ training camp roster
Sharks missed opportunity to capitalize on free agent market
Weekly Recap: Sharks Edition (January 3)
West Division Comparison: Sharks/Avalanche
West Division Comparison: Sharks/Wild
Santeri Hatakka earns Bronze Medal with Finland at World Juniors
West Division Comparison: Sharks/Blues
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