As the holiday season approaches, PHR will look at what teams are thankful for as the season nears the quarter point of completion. There also might be a few things your team would like down the road. We take a look at what’s gone well in the first month and what could improve as the season rolls on. So far we’ve covered ANA, ARZ, BUF, CGY, CAR, CBJ, COL, DET, LAK, NSH, NJD, NYI, STL, TOR, WSH, and VGK.
What are the Sharks most thankful for?
After the departure of long-time star Patrick Marleau to Toronto, many believed that San Jose’s might take a step back this season which could force the team to rebuild. The team, however, despite an anemic offense, has played well and are riding a three-game winning streak and are closing in fast on a top spot in the Pacific Division with a 14-8-2 record. A mixture of veterans and younger players, the team still seems to be run well under head coach Peter DeBoar. It probably does help that teams like the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers are having their own problems and are floundering in the division.
Who are the Sharks most thankful for?
Two players come to mind as the play of 28-year-old center Logan Couture seems to be taking over as the team’s top player. While the team has struggled in putting the puck in the net, Couture has led the team with 13 goals and 21 points this year in 24 games (no one else has more than seven goals on the team). He leads the team in power play goals and is tied for the team lead in short-handed goals. The team has also gotten magnificent play from goaltender Martin Jones, who sports a 10-5-1 record and a 2.05 GAA with a .930 save percentage. He has also received little support as he has the fifth-lowest goal support on the year. Without these two, it’s likely the team wouldn’t be where they are.
What would the Sharks be even more thankful for?
The team needs the return to form of several of their veterans, especially defenseman Brent Burns, who has struggled this year putting the puck in the net. The 32-year-old blueliner is the catalyst to this offense putting up points and he has just one goal this season as opposing defenses are focusing on shutting him down. If Burns can find a way to start putting the puck in the net, perhaps the offense might start to take that next step and get back on track. Joe Pavelski’s struggles to find the net are also an issue on a team lacking in goal scoring. His five goals in 24 games is no where near last year’s pace where he put up 29 goals. Even 38-year-old Joe Thornton’s numbers are fading.
What should be on the Sharks’ Holiday Wish List?
The team needs scoring and should look into acquiring a goal scorer who might help get the team’s offense back on track. Besides Couture, the team has little else in terms of scoring besides Joonas Donskoi, who just went onto injured reserve. The team needs to replace Marleau and are rumored to be looking at various options, although it is unknown what the team is willing to move to get a goal scorer. A player like Buffalo’s Evander Kane might be the perfect piece to add to this team.