SAN JOSE SHARKS
2008/09: 53-18-11, 117 pts (1st in Pacific, 1st in West)
Arrived: Dany Heatley (OTT), Scott Nichol (NSH), Jed Ortmeyer (NSH), Dwight Helminen (CAR)
Departed: Milan Michalek (OTT), Johnathan Cheechoo (OTT), Brian Boucher (PHI), Jeremy Roenick (Retired), Claude Lemieux (Retired), Travis Moen (MON), Mike Grier (BUF), Christian Ehrhoff (VAN), Brad Lukowich (VAN)
2008/09 was another frustrating season for the Sharks and their fans. After cruising the first half of the season the Sharks were the unanimous favourite for the Cup, but a lousy finish to the regular season saw them barely hold off the Red Wings for first in the West. It didn’t get any easier, as the Sharks faced the red hot 8th seed, Anaheim Ducks, in the first round and eventually lost in 6 games. There will be plenty of new faces in the Sharks lineup this season, including sniper Dany Heatley, with the departure of Michalek, Cheechoo, Moen, Grier, Roenick, and Lemieux. The Sharks should win the Pacific again this year, but I won’t be surprised if Anaheim gives them a good run. Heatley might be the final piece the Sharks need to get over the hump and into the Finals.
FANTASY WORTHY FORWARDS
Joe Thornton (C) – Thornton’s point production has declined over the past 3 years (114,96,86), but he is still a top 15 pick in any draft. He won’t break 30 goals, but 65 assists is a sure thing. Expect Big Joe to break 90 points and 50 PIMs. Dany Heatley and Thornton could be the deadliest duo in the league this season and a 100 point season is not out of the question.
Dany Heatley – (LW) – Heatley had his worst season as a Senator in 08/09 recording only 72 points in 82 games. Heatley is a fantasy force no matter what team he plays on and as a Shark should flourish alongside playmaker Joe Thornton. Remember the lowly Atlanta Thrashers? Heatley had 89 points for them in his sophmore season. A 50 goal, 100 point season is much more a reality now in San Jose than it was in Ottawa. With this trade Heatley is once again a top 10 fantasy option in my opinion. Heatley is good for around 75 PIMS as well.
Patrick Marleau (C/LW) – Having been stripped of his captaincy this offseason, Marleau looks to be on his way out of San Jose (or so the rumours go). For now he is a Shark and a valuable fantasy player on any team. Coming off a terrible season in 07/08 in which he had just 48 points, Marleau rebounded in 08/09 with 38 goals and 71 points. Expect much of the same from Marleau if he remains in San Jose and sees time on Thornton’s wing. Production might slip if he is bumped down a line due to the acqusition of Heatley.
Devin Setoguchi (RW) – Is Setoguchi the real deal or have we seen this all before with Johnathan Cheechoo? If he remains on the top line with Thornton (and now Heatley) he could have another 30-plus goal season approaching 80 points, but I’m not 100% convinced and won’t be calling Setoguchi’s name early on draft day.
Joe Pavelski (C)/ Ryan Clowe (LW) – Expect 20 goals, 60 points, and 50 PIMS from each member of the Sharks second line this season. The top 6 will be interchangeable with Marleau and Setoguchi swtiching lines often.
DRAFT WORHTY DEFENCEMEN
Dan Boyle – In his first season with Tampa Bay Boyle finished the season 6th among defencemen in scoring but was only two points shy of being tied for third with Lidstom, Rafalski and Niedermayer. Boyle is capable of putting up 20 goals and should hit 60 points having gained a season of experience with the Sharks and coach McLellan.
Rob Blake – Blake will turn 40 years old in December and we expect around 40 points. 100 PIMS and 45 points made Blake a great surprise for his fantasy owners a season ago.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – With Ehrhoff off to Vancouver the man they call “Pickles” should assume a spot on the top pairing with Dan Boyle and produce 40 points with the most of them being assists.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Evegeni Nabokov – Nabokov is an elite fantasy hockey goaltender. He is a lock to have an GAA under 2.50 and a save% above .900. On a team like San Jose, all he does is win (41-12 last season) and you can expect around 45 of them this year. Nabokov’s contract expires at the end of this season so he will be playing with a great deal of motivation. A top 5 goalie for sure.