2019-2020 NHL Team Recap: San Jose Sharks

After a rather successful 2018-2019 campaign where they amassed 101 points the San Jose Sharks were on par to follow in line with another good season in 2019-2020. Minus Joe Pavelski and his 38 goals(now with Dallas), the team appeared to be in place for good things. Just three months into the season and coach Pete DeBoer was out the door. A slew of injuries later and the Sharks are suddenly among the weakest clubs in the league. Let’s delve in a little further and find out what went down in our NHL team recap of the San Jose Sharks.

Make sure to check out all of our other NHL team recaps here.

Record:  29-36-5, .450 pt%(29th)

GF/GM: 2.57(27th)

GA/GM: 3.21(27th)

PP: 17.5%(23rd)

PK: 85.7%(1st)

CORSI%: 50.55 %(14th) *naturalstattrick.com

What Went Right

After a slow start consisting of just four victories in October, the Sharks rebounded nicely going 11-4 in November. The solid stretch, although an anomaly in the season, showed us that the Sharks were still capable of being a strong team in the Pacific division. Although they boasted a brutal powerplay(9.5%) the team’s penalty kill was lights out leading the league at a 91.7% clip. The elite penalty kill would prove to be a source of pride for the duration of the year as they finished first overall with a rate of 85.7%.

Scoring certainly dried up for San Jose, a surprise to many. All-stars Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson had poor offensive outputs well below their capabilities. The rest of the team was mostly unsuccessful in picking up the slack. However, Timo Meier and Evander Kane did have good showings. Meier would finish with his third straight season with at least 20 goals(22). The 23-year-old’s 49 points in 70 games were the team’s best offensive total. 

The only other 20 goal scorer, Evander Kane, continued his solid career in his age 28 season. 2019-2020 would mark the sixth time he would score over 25 goals. His 47 points(26 goals, 21 assists) were second in team-scoring. 

What Went Wrong

The underachieving came to a head around mid-December. The 15-16-2 record would spell the end for head coach Peter DeBoer. Bob Boughner, the team’s assistant coach for two years prior, would take over. With a partially depleted lineup due to injuries, the team continued to struggle finishing with a mark of 14-20-3 under their new bench boss.

Three of the team’s most prominent players would miss significant time. Tomas Hertl would sit out the balance of the season after January 29th to undergo left knee surgery. Erik Karlsson would break his left thumb on February 15th putting him on the shelf for the better of a month. Team-leader and the Sharks best forward, Logan Couture would dress in just 52 of 70 games. 

For what seems like forever the Sharks have been without above-average goaltending. The duo of Martin Jones and Aaron Dell was exposed on many nights. The 27th ranked 3.21 goals-against/game just wasn’t enough to mask the lack of offense San Jose put out most nights. It should be a priority for management to address the team’s goaltending woes this offseason. 

Forecasting 2020-2021

Plenty of roll depth players will need new deals before the 2020-20201 season. Forwards Melker Karlsson and Joe Thornton along with netminder Aaron Dell are due for new deals that won’t break the bank. Forward Kevin Labanc is the team’s most high profile player in line for a new deal. Labanc, only 25, amassed just 33 points after scoring a career-high 56 in 2018-2019. The Sharks could get a steal if they sign him for three or four years at around four million. 

A story to follow for next season will be if the trio of highly paid defensemen can perform up to their contracts. Remember when San Jose thought so highly of Erik Karlsson that they traded this year’s first-round pick, prospect Josh Norris and defenseman Dylan DeMelo. Karlsson managed 40 points in 56 games, he will need to be better. 

33-year-old Marc-Edouard Vlasic has seven more years at seven million per. Once one of the league’s premier shut-down defensemen, Vlasic is almost a forgotten piece on the back-end. At the very least he will have to be a steady influencer on and off the ice. 

We can’t forget the bearded beast, Brent Burns. He wasn’t very “beastly” in 2019-2020. The 33-year-old had just 45 points in 70 games after scoring 83 points a year before.

The Sharks will have to employ a system where all three can perform like they usually do. They have invested heavily in the position, their success will be counted on if San Jose is to bounce back.

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