We are five days away from the start of the NHL season. The scheduling of your Fantasy Hockey drafts have begun. The DraftKit is on sale and it is time to start previewing the 2016-17 NHL season.
I will be previewing two teams every day and each preview will consist of: Projected Line Combinations, a breakdown of each team’s top Fantasy assets, a look at their goaltending situation and 2016-17 NHL Standings projection.
If you don’t want to wait for the previews, buy our 2016-17 DraftKit—which has previews for every team as well as projections for over 300 players and goalies. You will get rankings and projections on here over the next few weeks, but why wait, when you can get it all right now for just $4.95?
Let’s take a look at the San Jose Sharks.
|Mikkel Boedker – LW – (from COL)||James Reimer – G – (to FLA)|
|David Schlemko – D – (from NJD)||Roman Polak – D – (to TOR)|
|Matt Tennyson – D – (to CAR)|
|Jeremy Morin – LW – (to TBL)|
In 2014-15, the San Jose Sharks saw their 10-year playoff streak snapped, but last year they returned to the postseason and made it to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.
Despite losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Finals, the Sharks return in the 2016-17 as one of the top teams in the Western Conference and are capable of making another run at the Stanley Cup.
Up front, the Sharks are deep. Their top line has one of the NHL’s all-time great playmakers in Joe Thornton and one of the best goal-scorers in the modern-era in Joe Pavelski. At 36-years-old, Thornton shocked everyone with an 82-point season in 2015-16 and leads the NHL with 177 assists over the last three years. Pavelski was frequently undervalued in fantasy circles but now ranks second in the NHL in goals over the last three seasons (116) and hasn’t missed a game in five seasons—cementing himself as a first-round fantasy pick. The top line is expected to be rounded out by Tomas Hertl. The 22-year-old winger finished the 2015-16 regular season on a high-note while playing with Joe and Joe, collecting 20 points (11G / 9A) in the final 29 games. He added an additional 11 points (6G / 5A) in 20 playoff games and appears poised for a big 2016-17 season. The offseason addition of Mikkel Boedker is what really makes the Sharks a deep lineup, because it will likely push veteran winger Patrick Marleau to the third line. Boedker is expected to play on Logan Couture’s wing, with Joonas Donskoi on the other side. Couture missed 30 regular season games last year, but led all players with 30 points (10G / 20A) in the playoffs. The aforementioned Marleau is in the twilight of his career, but still collected 25 goals a season ago and hasn’t missed a game in seven years—making him a safe late round selection. Timo Meier, who was the ninth overall pick in 2015 was expected to be given a shot this year, but he will miss all of October with mononucleosis. The rest of the bottom-6 will be comprised of familiar faces in Joel Ward, Tommy Wingels, Matthew Nieto among others.
The Sharks’ blueline is a true strength of their’s and may even be one of the best defensive units in the NHL. Brent Burns is coming off of a historic year, having scored 27 goals on 353 shots—that’s the second most goals and shots by a rear guard in the last two decades. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who joined Burns at the World Cup of Hockey, representing Team Canada, is their other fantasy relevant blueliner. The 29-year-old is an excellent two-way defender and is also coming off of a career-high in points (39). David Schlemko, who has been significantly under-appreciated over the last few years comes over from New Jersey and should play with Brenden Dillon as one of the best third pairings in the league.
Martin Jones is back for his second year as the Sharks’ No.1 netminder and his first season was very impressive. Everyone was expecting big things from Jones last year, but no one was expecting him to win 37 games with a 2.27 goals against average (GAA) and .918 save percentage (SV%). The Sharks did a superior job suppressing shots on Jones and making his job easier. He faced an average of 25.96 shots per game at even-strength (third least in the NHL) and he posted an impressive .925 SV% at 5-on-5 (via puckalytics.com). With James Reimer signing in Florida, Aaron Dell comes up from the AHL to serve as Jones’ backup this season.
Overall, the Sharks got better if anything. They were one of the top squads in 2015-16, so there is no reason not to expect anything but another successful playoff run in 2016-17.
Sharks in the DFO Top 275:
- 10. Joe Pavelski – RW
- 18. Brent Burns – D
- 26. Martin Jones – G
- 47. Joe Thornton – C
- 88. Logan Couture – C
- 155. Patrick Marleau – LW
- 186. Mikkel Boedker – LW
- 203. Tomas Hertl – C
- 270. Joel Ward – RW
2016-17 Season Projection:
The Sharks find themselves in an improving Pacific Division, but remain one of the top teams in that Division, which should make it easy for them to qualify for the playoffs yet again. Once you get in, it’s anyone’s game, but don’t be surprised if the Sharks make another run.