Do not refer to the San Jose Sharks as a “rebuilding” team quite yet. They may have a new front office, and without longtime star defenseman Brent Burns, but the rest of the core is intact. Returning are the likes of Logan Couture, Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl, as San Jose looks to make another run at the playoffs.
Fans and analysts alike would like to see San Jose implode and rebuild, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The NHL odds peg the Sharks as the third-worst team in the West, behind only the Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks. San Jose is widely expected to miss the playoffs for the fourth season in a row.
Fans will thus find the Sharks underdogs when betting online. Do not be fooled if this team is competitive in the earlier parts of the season, however.
Let’s check the latest NHL picks, stats, injury reports, and NHL predictions. We’ve plenty of NHL expert picks for you to consider.
Sharks Current Odds
- To win Stanley Cup: +10000
- To win Western Conference: +5500
- To win Pacific Division: +6600
- To make playoffs: Yes +800/ No -2000
Player to Watch
Among the Sharks’ best players is Meier, who will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The team currently does not have the cap room to re-sign the 25-year-old, who is coming from his best season in the league (career-highs in goals , assists , and points ).
He’s still just entering his prime, so it’s possible that Meier has an even bigger season statistically. This will make him command a hefty payday wherever he goes. It will be interesting if San Jose tries to trade him before/at the deadline, or deals with other players to clear cap space.
Player to Watch: LW Timo Meier
The Sharks made a sneaky-good signing in acquiring Luke Kunin in a trade with the Nashville Predators. The 24-year-old was drafted 15th overall (by the Minnesota Wild) in 2016 and has 46 career goals in 251 games. That is modest considering his potential. He will now be in an enviable position in San Jose, potentially on the top line with Meier and Hertl.
With San Jose’s two best scorers feeding him the puck, Kunin should be in store for his best season to date, eclipsing the 15 goals and 31 points he had in 63 games with Minnesota in 2020. The sportsbook doesn’t offer a “Most Improved Player” category, but Kunin should finally hit 20+ goals and over 50 points with the Sharks.
Breakout Watch: C Luke Kunin
As the betting odds foreshadow, San Jose is expecting another long and fruitless season. The Sharks had the third-worst offense in 2021-22 and jettisoned their best offensive defenseman. They still have one of the better defenses in the conference, so this team won’t tank (so to speak). If the offense remains sluggish, though, it will be hard to compete in the wild-card chase.
What will San Jose do when they start to fall behind in the standings? Many teams around them (Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks) made improvements, so what hockey observers are asking is when San Jose will rebuild.
The Sharks may have a hard time moving the likes of Couture and Erik Karlsson as they are getting to their mid-30s, with gargantuan contracts to boot. However, a player like Meier could fetch a handsome return if the Sharks go that route. If they don’t, a repeat of 2021-22 is a given.