2016-17 NHL Preview: San Jose Sharks Looking for Another Deep Playoff Run
It’s now August and hockey is again just a month away, with the World Cup of Hockey in September, which means — yes — it is that time of the year again! This month we will be previewing each team’s 2016-17 season. Tonight, it’s the San Jose Sharks.
Additions: Mikkel Boedker, David Schlemko
Subtractions: James Reimer, Roman Polak, Nick Spaling, Dainius Zubrus
The San Jose Sharks capped off their 25th anniversary season with their best postseason run in franchise history, albeit falling just short of winning the Stanley Cup, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. In spite of the loss, they did make history by making the Stanley Cup Final for the first time ever, and that’s a huge achievement considering what the last few years have been like for the team and their fan base as well as playoff predictions early on.
Now this team has something to build off of. Now they have experience, which is why I think it was wise for general manager Doug Wilson to keep the core in tact and, for the most part, keep the roster together. Doug Wilson did recognize an area of need for the Sharks after falling to a much faster and deeper Penguins team. Yes, it’s speed, and the Sharks now have plenty of it for them to hopefully capture the ultimate prize.
They added two new faces via free agency in forward Mikkel Boedker and defenseman David Schlemko.
Boedker spent the first eight season of his NHL career with the Arizona Coyotes before being traded at the deadline to Colorado. He tied a career-high 51 points (17 goals, 34 assists) in 80 games last season, and should fit well into a top-six role. If he’s slotted into the second line as some line projections suggest, you would be seeing a line with Logan Couture centering that line with Boedker flanking on the left and Joonas Donskoi on Couture’s opposite side. If he can use his speed well and mesh in with the other two, you would have really fast second line.
Schlemko set career-highs last season, with 6 goals and 13 assists, 23 power play points, and 3 game winners as a New Jersey Devil. He’s so far what looks like an upgrade over the big body bruising Roman Polak. He’s a good, mobile defenseman and puck mover, which should enable the Sharks to move out of their own zone a bit quicker and more smooth.
With James Reimer gone to serve as back-up for the Florida Panthers, the question remains if Doug Wilson will go out and get another. So far, the team has seemingly stuck with Aaron Dell who could see his first bit of action in the NHL as a back-up goalie early in the season. Could they acquire another more experienced back-up goalie? I honestly don’t see why not. It worked with Reimer, so I guess it’s as the old saying goes: ‘don’t fix what ain’t broke’. We will see though.
Overall, it was pretty quiet offseason for the Sharks, and understandably so as they are looking for another shot at the Stanley Cup before both Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are gone.
Prediction: Sharks win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
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