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West Division Comparison: Sharks/Coyotes

January 11, 2021, 7:54 PM ET [5 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.

This will be the last article of the series, but you can read all other comparison articles here:

- Sharks/Avalanche Comparison
- Sharks/Blues Comparison
- Sharks/Ducks Comparison
- Sharks/Golden Knights Comparison
- Sharks/Kings Comparison
- Sharks/Wild Comparison

In today’s article, we’ll compare the Sharks to the Arizona Coyotes.



FORWARDS

This area isn’t close. San Jose has four forwards who can produce at a high level, while the Coyotes don’t have many players they can rely on at the top of their lineup. Clayton Keller and Phil Kessel were both underwhelming last season, while Nick Schmaltz’s ceiling may not be more than 50-55 points (per 82 games). On top of this, losing Taylor Hall won’t make scoring any easier. While the Sharks may not be able to count on a ton of depth scoring once again this year, they do have quality top-six forwards and if the group can stay healthy, they’ve certainly got the better forward lineup.

Advantage: Sharks



DEFENSE

As is the case with all of these comparisons, the strength of San Jose’s defense group heavily relies upon whether or not Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic can recover. If they can bounce back, even without much depth around them, San Jose’s defense (and team as a whole) looks much better. However, the Coyotes have a well-rounded group, featuring Jakob Chychrun, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski and Niklas Hjalmarsson, which should limit chances in their own end. With uncertainty as to what San Jose will get from their blue line, Arizona has the advantage here.

Advantage: Coyotes



GOALTENDING

The Coyotes definitely have the advantage here as well. Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta were one of the league’s best tandems last season and despite the addition of Devan Dubnyk, the Sharks aren’t likely to get great goaltending this year. If one of Arizona’s goalies starts the struggle, even for a game or two, they have another quality goalie who they can count on. The Sharks, on the other hand, will probably be lucky if either goalie gives them consistency throughout the year.

Advantage: Coyotes


Despite San Jose’s advantage up front, Arizona may be the better team, based on their defense and goaltending. That said, these two teams are in the same range within the division, where neither will be a contender but either could fight to earn a playoff spot.



***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 Coyotes in the standings this season?
Yes
No



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
Sharks/Golden Knights Comparison
Sharks/Ducks Comparison
Weekly Recap: Sharks Edition (January 10)
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