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 five articles in this series, which you can read here:
In today’s article, we’ll compare the Sharks to the Anaheim Ducks.
The Sharks certainly have the better forward group. San Jose has four legitimate top-six level forwards, while the Ducks may only have one. Anaheim likely has the better bottom-six depth and are starting to integrate younger players into their lineup but with Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane and Timo Meier, San Jose has four forwards who are better than any forward on the Ducks. The Sharks won't have to worry whether they'll get scoring from the top of the lineup and overall, San Jose has the better forward group.
San Jose has the two biggest names of either team in their defense group, however, the Ducks have defensemen who are more reliable in their own end. Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson can face tough matchups effectively, while Cam Fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk can add offense. Although Fowler and Shattenkirk don’t have offensive ceilings as high as Burns and Karlsson, Lindholm and Manson’s defensive abilities are likely to prove more important. If Burns, Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic can recover this year, it’s a different story. But for now, we have to bet that Anaheim has the edge defensively.
John Gibson is key for the Ducks and despite his down year, he’ll be a much more solid starter than either Devan Dubnyk or Martin Jones. Even Ryan Miller provides a quality backup option for the Ducks and between the Gibson/Miller and Dubnyk/Jones tandems, the Ducks have quite a large advantage in net.
This matchup should be fairly close. The Sharks have more firepower up front but the Ducks will have the better defense and goaltending. While neither team is expected to be overly strong, the two teams should be fairly evenly matched this season.
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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 Ducks in the standings this season?