San Jose Sharks Review
- 2020-21 Record [21-28-7]
- Division rank [7th in the West]
San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson has been adamant that the Sharks are in a reset, not a rebuild. Now San Jose had a tough year with a lot of young players getting more ice time, but also, there are many unmoveable veteran contracts on the books, so the team can not exactly tear everything down. The Sharks need to make do with what they have, but there are a lot of holes that need to be filled, and this draft is crucial for them to hit on because they can not buy their way to a playoff spot. The highlight of the Sharks’ season by far has to be Patrick Marleau breaking Gordie Howe’s record of games played, so there was that.
The Sharks did not score enough. They averaged 2.61 goals per game, which was the seventh-lowest in the NHL. The Sharks are handcuffed in what they can do in the offseason; they have a lot of veterans with no-trade clauses, as well as veterans who saw their production drop, which means they do not have much value. The Seattle Kraken could possibly help the Sharks by taking one of those players off of their hands. Perhaps Brent Burns or Timo Meier as their contracts no longer match their performance but are big enough names to help the Kraken out.
If San Jose is going to look at the draft to fix offensive woes, there are some good options. Kent Johnson is a center out of Michigan, he is great with the puck on his stick, and he is a speedster with great vision. Another option for the Sharks is Chaz Lucius, who is committed to Minnesota, has a great hockey IQ, and is a shoot-first forward if the Sharks are looking for someone to take charge of goal-scoring opportunities.
The defense of the Sharks was atrocious. Their 3.50 goals allowed per game was the second-highest. Burns’ production dropped for a second consecutive year, and with a limited no-trade clause and his contract has four more years left, which is troubling for the Sharks, This year’s draft class is deep with blueline prospects, and the Sharks should look at picking one of them up.
San Jose is a long shot to get a top-two pick, but picking up a talent like Owen Power or Simon Edvinsson would be great for their organization. But it is unlikely they will fall to the Sharks, there is still great talent that will be available for the Sharks when it is their turn to select. Luke Hughes is ranked as the No. 3 defenseman, and he has committed to Michigan, there is a chance that he could fall to the Sharks, but if San Jose is to choose a defenseman, the most likely pick would be Brandt Clarke. Clarke is a 6-foot-1 blueliner out of Ottawa who has a chance to fall out of the top-five, but he still has top-five talent.
Goaltending was a major issue for the Sharks;, their .891 save percentage was the second-worst in the NHL. Martin Jones, their goalie, signed through 2023-24, had his third straight save percentage below .900 (.896). San Jose needs goalkeeping help now, and they do not know where to go. Should they look for a cheap veteran goalie who can stabilize the position or pull the trigger on one of their goalie prospects like Alexei Melnichuk or Josef Korenar. The Sharks have young goalies in their pipeline, with the need for other positions, do not expect to see the Sharks take a goalie in the first round.
The Sharks have a 6.7% chance at grabbing the number one overall pick and a 6.9 percent chance at snagging the number two overall pick. Therefore, San Jose has a 39.7% chance of landing at the number seven or the number eight spot. Brandt Clarke is ranked on some experts’ big boards as the number seven prospect. That is perfect for the Sharks, but with the draft class being so wide open, Clarke might be taken by the time the Sharks number gets called, or possibly there are other defensemen who are available that the Sharks find enticing.
Better Luck Next Year
2021-22 Stanley Cup Odds: +6500
Though the Sharks’ GM says this is not a rebuild but a reset, San Jose is still going to struggle next season. It is hard to completely write them off as a Stanley Cup Playoff participant because they have some big names and a young group of players, but history shows that many of those aging names have taken a downturn in their production. The Sharks have playoff odds of a team on the bubble, which they are, but we would suggest looking at another team, maybe with a better young core if you are making a bet in the NHL sportsbook on a team on the playoff bubble.