|Taylor Fedun – D||Martin Havlat – RW|
|John Scott – LW/D||Brad Stuart – D|
|John McCarthy – LW|
|Dan Boyle – D|
For the 10th straight season, the San Jose Sharks finished in the top-3 in the Pacific Division and qualified for the playoffs. But, for the 10th consecutive season, the Sharks fell short in the postseason. A decade of making the playoffs and the Sharks have never been to the Stanley Cup Final. The fashion in which they lost this past season, was the most disappointing for Sharks fans. After bursting out to a 3-0 series lead, San Jose lost the next four games, losing in seven to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.
Despite another disappointing end to the year, the Sharks look a lot like they did last season. On the blueline they parted ways with Dan Boyle (free agency) and Brad Stuart (traded to COL) which opens the door for Brent Burns to move back to defence and young D-men Matt Tennyson, Taylor Doherty, Mirco Mueller and Taylor Fedun to battle it out for the sixth D spot.
After a full season at forward that produced 22 goals and 26 assists (48 points) in 69 games, Burns will shift back to defence in 2014-15. The 29-year-old was a beast in from of the net, but the move back to the blueline should not hurt his point totals all that much. His goals should be down a bit, but he is still capable of 40 points from the back-end. His PIMS is something that should rise with his move. The other two big fantasy contributors on the Sharks’ blue line are Jason Demers and Marc-Eduard Vlasic. Demers, 26, had the best season of his career in 2013-14. He set a new season-high in assists (29) and points (34) while posting a plus-14 rating. The departure of Dan Boyle should allow Demers to see more power-play time, so his numbers shouldn’t change much from his career-year. Vlasic, 27, turned in one of the best seasons he has ever had. He posted a solid 24 points (5G / 19A) while registering the NHL’s ninth best plus/minus (+31) in 81 games. He is a great two-way defenseman and that is why Canada selected him to their Olympic roster last Winter. He rarely misses games and his point totals are consistently in the mid-20’s with a good plus/minus.
Up front, the Sharks still have a ton of talent. After last year’s collapse, they stripped Joe Thornton of the captaincy and Patrick Marleau of his ‘A’, but that won’t do anything to their fantasy values. “Jumbo Joe” had 11 goals and was second in the NHL with 65 assists (76 points) in 82 games. In 2014-15, expect much of the same. Low goal totals, (hasn’t scored 20 since 2010-11) and top-5 in the NHL in assists. He should finish between 70-80 points. In 2013-14, Marleau played every regular season game for the fifth straight season and scored 30-plus goals for the fifth consecutive full season. Marleau is as consistent performer as there is in fantasy, so ‘A’ or not, he is worthy of your third-round pick.
They are joined by Joe Pavelski, who exploded for 41 goals last season. He has always been a consistent goal scorer, but another 40 goal season is very unlikely. That said, who is complaining about a 30-30 season? Logan Couture had a bit of a down year, tallying just 23 goals in 65 games. Prior to last year he had 30-plus goals in each of the previous two 82-game seasons, so expect him to get back on that pace this season. Tomas Hertl had a great rookie season going until he had to undergo surgery to repair a damaged MCL and PCL in early January. He had 15 goals and 10 assists (25 points) in 35 games. However, six of the 15 goals came in his first three games, so don’t get crazy and expect a 40 goal season from the 20-year-old rising star. Tommy Wingels rounds out a nice group of forwards. Wingels enjoyed a quality season in 2013-14. He had 38 points (16G / 22A) in 77 games, which is impressive from a player who had an AHL career-high of 17 goals. Wingels will probably max-out at 40 points, so there is limited upside here.
In net the Sharks are also extremely steady. Antti Niemi was 39-17-7 with a 2.39 GAA and .913 SV% last season. He faltered down the stretch and in the playoffs, but he has always been a great regular season performer. In 2014-15 he will be pushed by Alex Stalock for starts, but Niemi should have a firm grasp on the starting job, especially if he maintains his regular season career 2.35 GAA and .916 SV%. Stalock was 12-5-2 with a 1.87 GAA and .932 SV% in his first full NHL season. He will need Niemi to struggle if he is going to become a legit fantasy option, but he should make for a great spot-start options when he gets the nod.
Look to the Draft (Ranking Sharks’ Fantasy Players)
- Joe Pavelski – RW
- Logan Couture – C
- Patrick Marleau – LW
- Joe Thornton – C
- Antti Niemi – G
- Brent Burns – D
- Tomas Hertl – C
- Matt Nieto – LW
- Alex Stalock – G
- Jason Demers – D
Click HERE for the Sharks’ potential line combinations heading into the 2014-15 season.
Season prediction: San Jose will finish third in the Pacific Division, extending their playoff streak to 11 years.
Other Season Previews: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames,Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars,Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators,Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins