Sharks

Important dates on the horizon for NHL, Sharks

sharks-entrance-big-dates.jpg
USATSI

Important dates on the horizon for NHL, Sharks

A critical couple of weeks for the future of the Sharks franchise are on the horizon, as the club must determine how to shape its roster for next season and beyond.

Here is a rundown of some important dates on the calendar – and how they may affect the Sharks – in a unique offseason that features an addition to the NHL’s family of franchises.

June 18 – Expansion draft protected lists released; Vegas can talk to free agents

General manager Doug Wilson has yet to say whether the Sharks will protect seven skaters, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters and one goalie for the expansion draft. We’ll find out this Sunday, as the league will release the protected lists from all 30 NHL teams.

That date also opens a brief window in which the Golden Knights can speak with pending free agents that are left unprotected. For example, they would be permitted to reach out to the camps of Joe Thornton and/or Patrick Marleau, assuming the Sharks don't protect either one.

June 21 – Golden Knights roster revealed; NHL Awards

Vegas’ selections are due by 7 a.m., and its roster be unveiled at the NHL Awards show later that night in Las Vegas. If the Sharks don’t come to some sort of agreement with them in the days and hours leading up to deadline, the Golden Knights will select one of the players on the Sharks’ roster that is left unprotected.

The Norris Trophy will also be presented that night, with Brent Burns likely to become the first Sharks player to ever be named as the best defenseman in the league.

June 23-24 – NHL Entry Draft

This year’s draft takes place over two days at Chicago’s United Center. The first round begins at 4:00 p.m. on Friday (NBCSN), while rounds two-through-seven are on Saturday morning beginning at 7:00 a.m. (NHL Network).

The Sharks still own their first round pick at 19th overall. They do not have any second, third or fourth round picks, but own one fifth round pick (143), two sixth round picks (159 and 174) and three seventh round picks (205, 212, 214).

June 25 – Free agents permitted to speak with other teams; deadline to qualify restricted free agents

If none of the Sharks current unrestricted free agents are signed by this date, they are allowed to speak with other teams that may be interested in inking them to deals on July 1. At this point, it appears likely that both the Thornton and Marleau camps will wait and see what other offers could be out there before making any decisions.

As for their restricted free agents, the Sharks have a few that are not yet signed that but will surely be qualified in Chris Tierney and Marcus Sorensen. Other notable RFAs likely to be qualified include Mirco Mueller, Tim Heed, Joakim Ryan and Barclay Goodrow.

July 1 – Free agency begins

Typically the most intriguing day of the offseason, unrestricted free agents are free to sign wherever they like beginning at 9 a.m. It will be particularly interesting to Sharks fans if Thornton and/or Marleau are not signed by this date, because if that’s the case they could very well move on to other organizations before the day is over. Other notable UFAs include Micheal Haley and Ryan Carpenter.

This is also the date that the Sharks are allowed to sign goalie Marin Jones and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long-term contract extensions, as they both enter the last year of their current deals in 2017-18. All indications are that the talks with both have gone smoothly so far for two players that are expected to help form the core of the team for the next several seasons.

* * *

The Sharks released their six-game 2017 preseason schedule, featuring a pair of games against the Golden Knights:

Sep. 19: Sharks vs. Anaheim (SAP Center)
Sep. 21: Sharks vs. Vegas (SAP Center)
Sep. 23: Sharks at Arizona (Gila River Arena)
Sep. 28: Sharks at Anaheim (Honda Center)
Sep. 30: Sharks vs. Arizona (SAP Center)
Oct. 1: Sharks @ Vegas (T-Mobile Arena)

The full 82-game regular season schedule will reportedly be released on June 22.

Sharks come out flat in Game 1, get crushed 7-0 by Vegas

goldenknightsgoalap.jpg
AP

Sharks come out flat in Game 1, get crushed 7-0 by Vegas

BOX SCORE

The Anaheim Ducks scored their fourth goal in the first round against the Sharks 227:53 into the series. The Vegas Golden Knights needed less than 12 minutes.

San Jose ultimately gave up five in a 23:28 span, and dropped Game 1 of the second round in Sin City 7-0. Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, and Jonathan Marchessault scored in a 91-second span early in the first period to all but seal the game, while Alex Tuch, Shea Theodore, Colin Miller, and James Neal each added another to put it well out of reach.

The Sharks reeled from the very beginning. 63 seconds in, Tomas Hertl took a high-sticking penalty, and a minute after he left the box, an unmarked Cody Eakin tipped Brayden McNabb’s point shot past Martin Jones to open the scoring.

Erik Haula scored 26 seconds later, and the Golden Knights held a 2-0 lead before the clock struck five minutes. Vegas winger James Neal tied up and threw down San Jose defenseman Brenden Dillon in the neutral zone, leaving center Logan Couture as one of the last men back. Alex Tuch stickhandled around him, and left a pass for Haula to snap by Jones.

The Golden Knights scored their third goal off of another zone entry on the very next shot. Reilly Smith found fellow former Florida Panther Marchessault for his first of the postseason, while Sharks blueliner Brent Burns hesitated to step out on him as Smith fired a short side shot from the face-off dot.

After Marchessault scored at the 6:02, Vegas had more five-on-five goals (three) than San Jose had five-on-five shot attempts (one).

Kevin Labanc and Burns later took penalties 48 seconds apart midway through the first period. The Sharks killed off Labanc’s penalty, but Tuch split the shorthanded San Jose defense and gave Vegas a 4-0 lead just 11:43 in to the first period.

Jones’ night ended just under three-and-a-half minutes into the second period. Shea Theodore scored the fifth Golden Knights goal, the team’s fourth off of a zone entry. Theodore drove the net on a two-on-one, and a desperate Jones sprawled to stop his tip-in to no avail.

Vegas scored twice in the third period, capitalizing on two penalties from San Jose’s first line. Joe Pavelski took a slashing penalty moments after the Sharks killed an interference penalty, while Evander Kane cross-checked Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s face and received a major penalty plus a ten-minute misconduct.

With both players in the box, Colin Miller’s slapped a shot past Sharks backup Aaron Dell to make it 6-0. James Neal converted the extra point on a wraparound as Kane’s major wound down.

Kane is likely to hear from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, but is not a “repeat offender” according to league policy. Four players have been suspended this postseason, double the total from last year. If the NHL opts for a phone hearing, Kane will be suspended for five games or less or fined more than $5,000, according to league policy. An in-person hearing means he faces a suspension of six-or-more games.

Thursday marked San Jose’s most lopsided loss in the playoffs in six years. The Sharks lost to the Detroit Red Wings 7-1 on May 6, 2010, but beat them the following game to advance to the Western Conference Finals. It was the second seven-goal loss in the team’s playoff history. San Jose lost to the Calgary Flames 9-2, and then the following game, but won the series in seven games.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Reilly Smith led the Golden Knights in scoring with three points in the first round. He matched that total 23-and-a-half minutes into  Game 1.

Smith added three shots on goal, tied for the team lead.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
Sharks: 0-for-5 on the power play, 7-for-10 on the penalty kill

San Jose allowed more power-play goals on Thursday (three) than in the entirety of the first round. Vegas scored two more power-play goals in Game 1 than in four first-round games against the Los Angeles Kings.

Golden Knights: 3-for-10 on the power play, 5-for-5 on the penalty kill

IN GOAL:
Sharks: Martin Jones struggled. He allowed four goals on the first seven shots he faced, including three in a row, and five on 13 in total. Aaron Dell replaced him early in the second period after the fifth goal.

Jones was largely hung out to dry, but two of the five goals Jones gave up came on low-danger shots, according to Corsica Hockey. He allowed no low-danger goals in the first round against Anaheim.

Golden Knights: Marc-Andre Fleury remained spectacular. He stopped every San Jose shot he faced, and picked up his third shutout in five starts this postseason.

TURNING POINT:
Fleury was instrumental in killing off a pair of penalties late in the first period. He stopped all eight Sharks shots during the extended power-play sequence, and effectively shut the door on their comeback.

INJURY UPDATE:
Sharks: Joe Thornton (right MCL sprain) was ruled out ahead of Game 1, and has now missed 40 straight games. San Jose made no other lineup changes from Game 4 of the first round against Anaheim.

Golden Knights: Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant opted not to make any lineup changes from Game 4 against Los Angeles, despite defenseman Luca Sbisa being ready to rejoin the lineup after not playing since Feb. 27.  

WHAT’S NEXT:
The Sharks will try to salvage a split in Game 2 at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday. Coverage begins with Sharks Playoff Central on NBC Sports California at 4:30 p.m, followed by puck drop on NBCSN at 5 p.m. Tune into NBC Sports California immediately after the final horn for postgame reaction and analysis.

Blood Brothers? Evander Kane adds Sharks to his wolf pack in Vegas

kane.jpg
NBC Sports Bay Area

Blood Brothers? Evander Kane adds Sharks to his wolf pack in Vegas

The Sharks are in Vegas Thursday night for Game 1 of their Round 2 matcup with the Golden Knights. And Evander Kane has something to say. Or as Kane is better known by his real friends, Alan Garner.

Kane, no longer a lone wolf, scored three goals and one assists in the Sharks' Round 1 sweep of the Ducks. He agrees where he stands in this wolf pack too. 

Game 1 starts Thursday night with puck drop at 7 p.m. Pregame coverage starts with Sharks Playoffs Central at 6:30 p.m. on NBC Sports California.