The San Jose Sharks open their season tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. The Sharks are coming off a disappointing season, where they missed the playoffs for just the second time in the last 16 seasons.
One of the biggest questions heading into the season will be whether San Jose’s top defenders can recover from a rough 2019-20 season. Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic account for roughly one-third of the team’s cap space, and if they can’t bounce back, the Sharks don’t have the depth on their blue line to succeed.
In addition, goaltending is still a concern and if the Sharks’ three best defenders can’t be relied on consistently, it’s not going to make it any easier on San Jose’s netminders. Devan Dubnyk was brought in but it remains to be seen as to whether he can make a difference. On top of that, Martin Jones has posted an .896 save percentage in back to back seasons, which isn’t acceptable.
As for the Sharks’ forward group, the team did make additions in the offseason. Most notably, Ryan Donato was acquired from the Minnesota Wild and given an opportunity, Donato could make a solid impact with the Sharks. Additionally, Patrick Marleau and Matt Nieto were signed and will provide more options in the bottom-six. That said, it’ll be a matter of how much the additions help the Sharks.
This season should give us a better sense of San Jose’s direction going forward. We’ll see if key players are able to bounce back and the team can make a push for the playoffs or if the Sharks are on the verge of a few more rough seasons.
You can find a comparison of the Sharks and Coyotes rosters here.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):