Editor's note: Over the next month, CSNCalifornia.com Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz and Postgame Live reporter Brodie Brazil will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.
Sharks spotlight -- the series
Sharks spotlight: Marc-Edouard VlasicAge: 25 D
In his sixth season in the NHL, all with the Sharks, defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic had four goals and 19 assists for 23 points and 40 penalty minutes in 82 games. He led the Sharks and was 12th in the league in blocked shots (171), and was second on the team in ice time (23:09 per game). He was scoreless with a -2 rating in five playoff games. He has one year remaining on his contract.
Kurz says: A former second round pick of the Sharks, Marc-Edouard Vlasic made huge strides in his game this season, and was the most consistent blueliner from start to finish. He routinely played against the oppositions top players, and although he wasnt quite as effective at the end of the season as he was through the first half, Vlasic could be a mainstay on the San Jose defense for years to come provided the club signs him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1 next summer.
Unfortunately for Vlasic, his own-goal early in Game 2 against St. Louis will be remembered as the turning point in the Sharks five-game defeat. As much as his game matured this season, it would have been nice to hear Vlasic, who is one of the more thoughtful and forthcoming players on the team, take a little bit more responsibility for that misplay after the game.
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Brodie says: Vlasic has two very big things going for him. First, he is only 25 years old. And second, he already has 6 years of NHL experience under his belt. Put those together, and its very realistic that even after his best campaign, we have not even seen Vlasic at his best yet.
It may be most accurate to say Marc-Edouard was a quality defenseman in seasons prior, but this year, he became one of the teams elite. Midway through the schedule he was lined up with Dan Boyle; a pair that lasted until the final game.
Picture any opponent with a 2 on 1 odd man rush coming towards the Sharks end. Who is the 1 San Jose skater youd like to see defending? My choice would be Vlasic, and I think that is one of the best compliments you can give a blueliner.
Pickles plays a true and responsible defensive game; usually good with positioning, a good stick, and willing to block a shot. Additionally, kept both his penalty minutes (40) and giveaways (44) relatively low. He is a perfect contrast to an offensive minded partner that will likely always be paired with.
Kurz says: Like Logan Couture yesterday, the expectations for Vlasic next season are obvious hell once again be counted on to be one of the teams top and most important players. As one of the more underrated defensemen in the NHL, Vlasic has the luxury of being able to fly under the radar and catch some of his more unfamiliar opponents by surprise.
Vlasics solid positioning and active stick in the defensive zone are the keys to his success, and with players like Dan Boyle and Brent Burns, racking up points isnt a priority for Vlasic. He can continue to concentrate on his defensive game, which should only get better.
RELATED: Vlasics stats splits game logs
Brodie says: Expectations are simple If Vlasic can bring a similar performance next year to what he did this season, the Sharks would benefit greatly. Any improvements on his part, would be a bonus.
Vlasics play was recognized with a bid to Team Canadas roster for the World Championships several weeks ago however Marc Edouard was sent home early from the tournament after suffering a knee injury. Although, the good news, it shouldnt be anything that prevents him from being 100 healthy into training camp.
On a personal level, Marc Edouard remains one of the best interviews on the Sharks. Even on the bench during games, he gives straightforward and honest assessments of whats going on, when times are good or bad. It is this clarity, which also likely helps him evaluate and adapt during the games as a player.
Up next: Tommy Wingels