It is July and serious hockey fans have time to sit back and look at the past season. Only one set of fans is happy dancing: those of the St. Louis Blues. Everyone else is asking themselves what happened to my team?
Let’s be serious here. We are tired of the “rebuilding” mantra. We are tired of the promises. We watch the same style of play (dump and chase) but nothing changes.
Sure, the post season was wacky and crazy at times. Who can forget the Sharks verses Golden Knights game in which San Jose scored four goals during a power play?
The San Jose Sharks rarely miss the post season. They make a decent showing: this year the Sharks finished sixth overall with 46 wins, 27 losses, and 100 points. They averaged 23.6% on the powerplay and 80.8% for the penalty kill. They had 33 shot per game and a 50.3% for face-off wins. The team had five players with 20+ goals and 9 with 15+ goals scored. Offense was not an issue.
In 2018-2019 San Jose signed Erik Karlsson, a Norris Trophy winning defenseman. He joined Brent Burns, another Norris winner. Together with Vlassic and Braun, the other key defensive positions, guarding the goal was set. Our defensemen can score but they need to stop the other guys from scoring.
The only potential weakness was the goaltending. Let’s face it folks: Dell is okay and Martin Jones is streaky. Jones is either great or bad. There is no in-between with our number one guy. It is time to draft some goalies. Remember Nabokov? He won for the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year as a goalie with San Jose.
Well, we all saw what happened in the play-offs. Once again, the potential greatness fell apart. Thornton did his best and no one can say Joe Pavelski or Logan Couture didn’t give their all. However, what happened to the rest of the team?
The lauded signing of Karlsson for his fantastic defensive abilities never really came to fruition. He spent half a large part of the season on the injured reserve list and didn’t look comfortable when he returned to the ice. Burns didn’t show his true brilliance in scoring and let’s face it: the man can only do so much to guard the goal on his own. Hertl had some good games, as did Meier.
Overall during the post season, the team was streaky. One game they were the amazing Sharks and the next, it looked like imposters were playing.
Once the playoffs were done what happened? The same thing! San Jose has given away draft picks. There was a time when San Jose was known for its upcoming draftees, especially goalies. Next, the free agent signing frenzy left us saying good-bye to Joe Pavelski.
The team needed space in the cap in order to offer Erik Karlsson a multi-year year. Eric is younger than Joe. This is a similar situation to the Patrick Marleau one from the previous year. Keep a guy who MIGHT help the Sharks instead of a player who DID help the team. Yeah, Pavelski is older than Eric. So what! Who produced for the team? Captain America, the Big Pavelski, we will miss you in teal.
The 2019-2020 needs to the be final season for GM Doug Wilson. If he can’t lead the team to the promised land, then it is time for him to move on. We deserve more as fans.
Meanwhile, we wait to see who will wear the teal, while, and black this new season.
The NHL site wrote a post-season review of the Sharks. Here is the link to the article: