Stories of Logan Couture not recovering well from their opening round loss to the Los Angeles Kings, losing the series from being 3-0 up, doesn't resonate well to those observers trying to get a feel for what the Sharks are going to do in 2015. Rather, it does give the feel of weakness in the ranks and it has hurt the overall projections of this team.
The Sharks have the overall talent level to possibly make a wild card push in the 2015 season, if not better, but the mindset, which is nearly impossible to gauge in the off-season, will be the most important factor in their season. We can only speculate as to what the entire team is feeling, so I am giving it something in between. The Sharks could push for a spot in the playoffs, but it could be a very rocky start and all the big names could have some poor seasons.
|Forwards||14/15 Proj||Cap Hit||Defense||14/15 Proj||Cap Hit||Goaltenders||14/15 Proj||Cap Hit|
|Joe Pavelski||75||6.000||Brent Burns||35||5.760||Antti Niemi||60||3.800|
|Joe Thornton||65||6.750||Jason Demers||30||3.400||Alex Stalock||35||1.600|
|Patrick Marleau||65||6.667||Marc-Edouard Vlasic||25||4.250|
|Logan Couture||45||6.000||Matt Irwin||25||1.000|
|Tomas Hertl||45||0.925||Justin Braun||20||1.250|
|Tommy Wingels||40||2.467||Scott Hannan||15||1.000|
|BUYOUTS & OTHER||0.175|
|Raffi Torres||15||2.000||Mirco Mueller||20||0.894|
|Adam Burish||10||1.800||Taylor Fedun||15||0.575|
First Round Picks
If I'm running on my thought that this team isn't going to be what it used to be, then I am only seeing one marginal opening round pick on this projected roster in forward Joe Pavelski coming in at the 75-point range. It looks like 80 points will be the benchmark of a 1st round pick this year and with the turmoil that the Sharks appear to be in, I don't see anyone being there.
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
How electric was Tomas Hertl in the beginning of the 2014 season? A knee-on-knee collision against the Kings in December grounded this high-flying Czech winger, but he did come back before the playoffs and did make sure we all remembered who he was, before they were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs. Hertl finished last season with 15 goals and 25 points in 37 games and should be one to watch in 2015. He didn't have that full season that may have drained him or possibly made him over-confident, going into this coming season, so I think that will be a positive.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
There are definitely a few pool worthy forwards there for the Sharks, which includes more of the same, but discounted considerably, as Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau may have clouds hanging over their heads. The Sharks are going into camp with no captaincy given out and it is questionable as to whether or not that will have an impact on their camps, let alone their regular season play. I am also looking at Logan Couture and Tommy Wingels to also be there for us poolies, but also at a lowered capacity.
Other Pool Worthy Defense
There will be no Dan Boyle this season and Brent Burns is moving back to the blueline this season, which doesn't exactly look like the best of trade-offs and I don't think it is. Burns' numbers will suffer from last season, which were decent as a forward, but he is in no way the same kind of player and the Sharks may struggle with that fact. Jason Demers and Marc-Edouard Vlasic will have to hold down some of Boyle's minutes, which will give them points, but it just doesn't add up with the state of this team.
Antti Niemi has been a rock for the Sharks over the years, but I don't think his numbers could possibly keep up with the times. The Sharks outlook is on the decline, which means Niemi's might as well. Alex Stalock, however, may see a few more starts with this outlook, but will still only manage to pick up low level back-up points.
Team To Pick From Late?
The off-season did not help this team's depth at all. The team has loaded up on some grinders and tough guys, but nothing that will give this team any real scoring depth. I would stay away from the Sharks in the late rounds, after the best guys have been picked up.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
The Sharks have no one else to sign in the restricted free agent pool and they still have four spots left on their projected roster with about $11.6 million left to spend. That is a good chunk of change, but this team may be thinking about the bottom line or seeing how they go out of the gate, before making any sudden moves. Right now, I can see the Sharks using signed talent already, instead of making it to the free agent pool, but that doesn't mean they won't invite some talent to camp, trying to make a difference.
Bad news for Raffi Torres, who was a borderline pool worthy forward, as his season will start really late this year, after he had been diagnosed with an infection in his surgically repaired knee. Torres was pretty impressive for San Jose when he was in the line-up last season, but I was pretty sure he would fall back to Earth this season. Nevertheless, if you were going to take a chance on him at the draft, you may want to skip him.