With the 2022-23 NHL season just around the corner, the San Jose Sharks look to end their 3 year Playoff drought and return to winning hockey. In hopes of turning the tide, this offseason the organization brought in new GM Mike Grier and new head coach David Quinn. These two are expected to do away with the losing ways of the recent San Jose Sharks and bring about a competitive hockey team. This, however, is easier said than done and some pretty substantial question marks still surround the team:
Will the Sharks be able to produce sufficient scoring?
The Sharks have missed out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past 3 seasons in large part due to their struggles putting the puck in the net. Last season, the Sharks ranked 30th in the league in goals per game at 2.57, which is simply too low if they have aspirations of making the playoffs. Captain Logan Couture is coming off of a down year, putting up only 56 points in 77 games. If he can contribute at a higher level, which he has proven in the past that he can, then the Sharks should have an easier time producing offense. Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl both were able to put up 30+ goals last season, despite the team’s offensive struggles. Their success bodes well for San Jose’s offense. If Meier and Hertl can continue to score at a high rate and Couture can add some much needed offense, then the Sharks should be able to score at a more sufficient rate.
Who will emerge as the Sharks’ top goalie?
After trading goaltender Adin Hill to Vegas, San Jose is left to start the season with the tandem of James Reimer and Kaapo Kähkönen. James Reimer is thought to be the main option, but it is yet to be seen who will be the outright starter. Reimer had the record of 19-17-10 with a 2.90 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 48 games last season. Kähkönen, who was acquired from Minnesota via trade midway through the season, went 2-6-1 with a 2.86 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. The two will be competing to defend the San Jose net this season. Reimer will most likely win that competition, as he was a bright spot in an otherwise underwhelming year for San Jose.
How will rookies William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau fare?
One of the more exciting aspects of the upcoming season for the San Jose Sharks will be the introduction of rookies William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau to the team. Both have played short stints in the NHL but will experience their first full season this year. Bordeleau recently played in the World Junior Tournament, where he led team USA in points with 8 in 5 games. His fantastic play in the tournament is a good indication that he is ready to contribute at the NHL level. Eklund, on the other hand, decided not to partake in the World Junior Tournament in order to better prepare himself for the NHL. The introduction of these two offensive talents to the Sharks’ lineup will only help their scoring woes. Eklund and Bordeleau are primed and ready to help San Jose be competitive this year. They even could be in contention for the Calder trophy as the league’s best rookie.
The San Jose Sharks, despite recent struggles, still have a strong core made up of both veteran and younger players. On the offensive side, players such as Timo Meier, Logan Couture, and Tomas Hertl make up the scoring fire power. And rookies William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau will be of great help. On the defensive side, Mario Ferraro and Erik Karlsson will be looked to as the main men. The San Jose Sharks could easily be a team that surprises people this season and are competitive in the race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.