It was another season in which the San Jose Sharks had one of the most talented rosters in the league, had a very successful regular season … and the guys were working on their short game sooner than anticipated. Still, it is one of the best-run organizations in the sport and there is plenty of reason to believe another attempt at a deep postseason run is forthcoming.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
2007-08: 49-23-10, 108 points (first in Pacific)
PLAYOFFS: Lost to Dallas in second round
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Evgeni Nabokov was one of the top two goaltenders in the league and just missed out on a Vezina trophy. Joe Thornton carried the offense many nights, finishing with 96 points. When most people thought Jeremy Roenick was done, he came back with 10 game-winning goals as a 37-year-old. Nabokov had one of the best defense corps in the league in front of him, and the addition of Brian Campbell at the trade deadline helped the Sharks get on quite a roll heading into the playoffs.
WHAT WENT WRONG: That roll ended when the Sharks ran into Brendan Morrow and Marty Turco. Another playoff disappointment in San Jose would be the last for former Caps coach Ron Wilson, who was replaced by Detroit assistant Todd McLellan. While guys like Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek picked it up toward the end of the season, scoring goals was an issue for long stretches.
DEPARTURES: D Brian Campbell, D Craig Rivet, D Matt Carle, LW Patrick Rissmiller
IMPACT PROSPECTS: LW Lukas Kasper, C Logan Coture
Patrick Marleau, paging Patrick Marleau …
Yes, Marleau is the captain and yes he plays defense, but the Sharks need more than 19 goals and 48 points from their $6.3 million investment. If he has a bounce back year, then count on a couple of those young wings who will likely skate with him getting a boost in their numbers as well.
Can Dan Boyle be Brian Campbell?
Campbell’s addition seemed to make everything work better in San Jose. Boyle had a tough year with the Lightning last season (having a skate fall on you in your stall isn’t a good start), but he possesses the same skill set as Campbell. If he can jumpstart the rush as well as Campbell did, the Sharks have the talent up front to be much better offensively.
PROGNOSIS: The forwards and goalie remain intact, though more can be expected of the guys who are suppose to score goals. Adding Boyle, Blake and Lukowich and subtracting Campbell, Rivet and Carle is close to a push. But none of that really matters. The Sharks, like Detroit, Dallas and Anaheim are clearly in “Win Cup or bust” mode. Anything less will almost certainly be a disappointment. A little more secondary scoring and San Jose will be Detroit’s biggest roadblock to a repeat.
|Milan Michalek||Joe Thornton||Jonathan Cheechoo|
|Ryan Clowe||Patrick Marleau||Devin Setoguchi|
|Thomas Plihal||Joe Pavelski||Mike Grier|
|Jody Shelley/Lucas Kasper||Torrey Mitchell/Marcel Goc||Jeremy Roenick|
|Dan Boyle||Christian Ehrhoff|
|Marc-Edouard Vlasic||Rob Blake|
|Kyle McLaren||Brad Lukowich|
*NOTE: This is not necessarily an attempt to guess line combinations