ug 14th, 2019They bite! They bite! (Cue the exhilarating theme song from Steven Speilberg’s Jaws films). Regardless of how you choose to associate with the San Jose Sharks, they remain one of the best-run organizations in not only the National Hockey League but in all of North America. This off-season, like so many others in recent history for this team, is embraced with high hopes, as their quest for Lord Stanley continues. The question begs…could this be the year for the boys in teal?
For the better part of almost two decades, the Sharks are continuously held to the highest of standards both on and off the ice. Whether it’s their central scouting department, arena employees, medical staff, coaching staff, ice-maintenance crew, or players on the active roster, the Sharks conduct themselves in a professional and courteous manner from the top down. This is perhaps best exemplified in their front office, led by long-standing General Manager, Doug Wilson. Year after year after year, Doug Wilson continues to build his empire and assemble a team with a winning culture. Under his tutelage, the Sharks and their fans have been treated to high-class, talented names such as: Teemu Selanne, Owen Nolan, Joe Thornton, Rob Blake, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle, Brian Campbell, Evgeni Nabokov, Brent Burns, Matt Carle, Joe Pavelski, Erik Karlsson, Mike Ricci, Jeremy Roenick, Milan Michalek, Sandis Ozolinsh, Jonathan Cheechoo, and several others. The list of talent has been immeasurable. In addition to his army of talent that he re-assembles season after season, he’s also able to manage the all-important salary cap, with the best of them. This spells excellent, heart-warming news for “Sharks Territory” and their fan base.
For years, the SAP Centre at San Jose (aka “The Shark Tank”) has been a House of Horrors for so many visiting teams across the National Hockey League. Although the other two California teams (Anaheim and Los Angeles) who for years were known as “Death Valley” are currently in a rebuilding scenario, the San Jose Sharks remain as strong, stable, talented, and well-run as there is across the NHL landscape. It’s one of the few remaining “barns” in the NHL that has that fear factor associated with it for a visiting team and its players.
Notable Off-Season Additions: F Dalton Prout
Top Prospects: D Ryan Merkley, C Dylan Gambrell, F Antti Soumela
Breakout Candidates: Kevin Labanc, Ryan Gambrell
Team Summary: The prospects for the Sharks this season is as positive as ever and are on many NHL experts’ radar as a contender to raise Lord Stanley in the spring of 2020. Fresh off a big-money signing for defenceman Erik Karlsson ($77M/7 years) keeping him in San Jose, the team also made transactions involving talented young forwards Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc. The latter was able to sign a 1-year/$1M contract, which is an absolute steal for GM Doug Wilson after the year and upside possessed by Lebanc. With another year of experience under their belt, the two youngsters should complement the veteran core of forwards quite nicely moving forward, especially with the loss of Captain Joe Pavelski. From an external standpoint, the Sharks opted to “stand pat” this off-season in favor of their own homegrown talent, which they have in abundance. The Sharks also have a few top-of-the-line prospects in defenceman Ryan Merkley, and highly-touted forwards Ryan Gambrell and Antti Soumela who should push for spots in the Sharks top-12. It’s just a few of the names coming down the pipeline for the Sharks in the coming years. Needless to say, expectations will be sky high in Shark territory heading into the start of the new season on October 2.
Prediction: The well-oiled machine, Sharks, are all-systems go and poised for yet another strong season out West. Look for Peter DeBoer’s men to be at the very top of the Pacific Division, and looking powerful as ever heading into the spring.
Check out our other 2019-2020 NHL Team Previews:
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images