NHL

Will This Be the Year for the Sharks?

While the NHL has a lot of elite teams, especially in the Western Conference, there is one that is about come to the surface and pounce on anything that moves this season.

This would be the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks, who have been one of the league’s most consistent teams over the last decade or so, forced themselves into the elite category when they went out and made a big deal with the Ottawa Senators back on September 13.

That’s right folks, the team went out and acquired an all-world defenseman, Erik Karlsson. Not only did they acquire him at what is considered a rental price, but they flat out dominated the deal by giving up hardly anything to get him.

Karlsson is perhaps the best defenseman in the NHL. He can put up points, force a lot of turnovers, make great outlet passes, and be very responsible in his own zone. For while, it looked like he was just an offensive defenseman, but in the last few years, he has become one the games best in his own zone.

Speaking of defense, this club also has Brent Burns. Yes, the Brent Burns that had 67 points last season and the guy who won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 2017.

The club also has probably the best stay at home defenseman in Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The 31-year-old blueliner is big, blocks a lot of shots, does not cough up the puck and is extremely steady in the back end.

Behind the team’s elite defensive group is starting goaltender Martin Jones. Since becoming a full-time starter in the league back in the 2015-16 season. Jones has been one of the league’s most consistent masked men.

Last season, the 28-year-old puck stopper went 30-22-6 with a 2.55 GAA, a .915 save percentage four shutouts. He was excellent in the playoffs despite losing the Golden Knights in the second round as he finished the postseason with a 2.26 GAA, a .928 save percentage and two shutouts.

Up front, this team is loaded. Joe Thornton, despite being 36-years-old, still managed to put up 36 points last season in just 47 games. Had he played the full year, you’re probably talking about 75-85 points, which is obviously great.

Thornton is not the only guy opponents have to worry about when it comes to the Sharks’ offense. This team also has the likes of Joe Pavelski (66 points), Evander Kane (54 points), Logan Couture (61 points), and Tomas Hertl (46 points).

This Sharks, who were already a scary good team prior to the Karlsson deal, just became a big-time predator in the NHL waters. They will be out for blood this year as they look to capture their first Cup in franchise history.

Photo: SI.com

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