So far, they have successfully moved themselves out of the era where Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were the top dogs and the team would only go so far as the rugged vets would take them, into this new era of the leadership pairing of Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns. The transition has been nothing short of impressive, as it also has been aided by Thornton, who has remained and will be around for at least one more season.
The Sharks have drafted fairly well and they have certainly orchestrated around some clever moves, but building from the inside out has really been their strong suit. The 2019 season does appear to be particularly strong, as the projections really look to be in their favour this year and they could be a team to be reckoned with in the Western Conference, if these projections come to fruition.
Secondary scoring and solid play in their own zone could really elevate this team to some familiar heights, like back on top of the Pacific Division. Now, the Sharks also have a tendency to get all of our hopes up too, only to have them crushed under some disappointing results. I suppose we should also take that into consideration as well.
Table last updated on August 11th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
As polarizing of a player that Evander Kane is, there was no denying that he really fit in well with the San Jose Sharks, after he was dealt there from Buffalo at the trade deadline. Kane finished the season with 9 goals and 14 points in 17 regular season games with his new club and posted another 4 goals and 5 points in nine playoff games as well.
Now the question becomes, "is the honeymoon over or will he continue to be a force with the Sharks?"
It's an intriguing question, since he came into the league with such high expectations out of junior, being a strong goal-scorer, but unable to find consistency with some below-average teams in the NHL. Now that he has found a home with a perennial favourite in San Jose, he could really start to find his stride.
First Round Picks
There's certainly potential for more than one 1st round pick from the Sharks, but on my list, I've only got the one, starting goalie, Martin Jones. I think this team will be very good this season and Jones will not only be one of the team's better players, but he'll reap more of the spoils, points, in the process. If everything goes well for him, he could be a 100-point player as well.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
The Sharks had quite a few pool worthy forwards last season and the early projections are suggesting the same for the coming year. Joe Pavelski is another one of those players, who were close to being a 1st round pick in my projections, but came up a little short. Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl, Chris Tierney, Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier and Joonas Donskoi have all been considered as pool worthy in the projections, at varying levels. I'm expecting lots of Sharks forwards to be drafted this year.
Other Pool Worthy Defensemen
If there was going to be a defender that was going to be good enough for the opening round of the draft, it could very well be Brent Burns, who was very close in the numbers as well. He leads a group that includes Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Dylan Demelo and Justin Braun, who could all pick up some of the points that fall off the table like food scraps.
In behind Jones in net will be Aaron Dell again this season and he had an impressive 2018 campaign, where he posted 15 wins in 29 appearances and was among the top backups in the game. If the Sharks ever needed to, they could probably go for an extended period of time with Dell and not really miss a beat.
Team to Pick From Late?
Since there are a lot of worthy Sharks already on the list, it really takes away from the depth that the team has left in the draft. There are also so many players, that there could still be some sticking around for a while in a deep draft and in that case, I would be seriously considering them, as I get the feeling they are going to score lots this season.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
There are no outstanding free agents left on the San Jose list, so we can say that they have about $4.5 million in cap space, with a full 23-man roster today. It's a strong side and they will have enough cap room to make a significant move at the deadline, if there are some good options available.
Joe Thornton is the biggest question mark, heading into the new season, but it sounds like all of his knee injuries and surgeries are now behind him once again and he'll be ready to support the guys in his 21st season.