To get you ready for the 2015-16 season, we will be previewing all 30 NHL in 30 days, division by division. Check the bottom of the page for a schedule of each preview.
Today’s team: San Jose Sharks
2014-15 record: 40-33-9, 5th in the Pacific
How they finished: Did not make the playoffs
Coach: Peter DeBoer (1st season)
Notable additions: G Martin Jones, D Paul Martin, RW Joel Ward
Notable subtractions: G Antti Niemi, D Scott Hannan, D Matt Irwin
Schedule against the Capitals: Tues. Oct. 13 at Washington, Sat. March 12 at San Jose
Outlook: When you look at the Sharks on paper, they appear to have all the pieces on offense. Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl is a pretty impressive roster, but this offense only managed 2.73 goals per game last season, 15th in the NHL. That corps isn't getting any younger.
Thornton is 36, Pavelski is 31 and Marleau is 35. Couture and Hertl will have to take bigger roles this season. While the Sharks did add Joel Ward, he's at his best in the playoffs so the Sharks may not even see the best that he has to offer.
Paul Martin is a clear upgrade for the defense, but the question for the Sharks is not the defense, but the goaltending.
Heading into this season, the Sharks will rely on Martin Jones as their starter, a 25-year-old goalie with 34 NHL games in his NHL career. The Sharks were willing to give up a first-round draft pick and a prospect for him, but he is completely unproven at the NHL. He may prove to be great, but this is a situation to build on, not one a team with any real chance of a deep playoff run would make.
There's plenty of talent here, but the Sharks are like a long math problem. It looks like you've done all the right work, but you just aren't getting the right answer. The best thing you can do is start over.
Expectations: The Sharks are long in the tooth and look as if they are in need of a rebuild and even their general manager called them a "tomorrow team." The problem is they can't really rebuild with players like Thornton still in tow. Instead, the Sharks are caught in no-man's land, a team with most of their money committed to declining veterans and a few younger pieces they hope to eventually build around.
Will the old and young talent fuse into a playoff contender capable of making one last shot at the Cup? No. More likely the Sharks will be the Toronto of the West this season, a team with plenty of talent, no identity and no playoffs.
See more team previews:
Chicago Blackhawks 8/8
Colorado Avalanche 8/9
Dallas Stars 8/10
Minnesota Wild 8/11
St. Louis Blues 8/13
Winnipeg Jets 8/14
Boston Bruins 8/15
Buffalo Sabres 8/16
Detroit Red Wings 8/17
Florida Panthers 8/18
Montreal Canadiens 8/19
Ottawa Senators 8/20<
Tampa Bay Lightning 8/21
Toronto Maple Leafs 8/22
Carolina Hurricanes 8/23
Columbus Blue Jackets 8/24
New Jersey Devils 8/25
New York Islanders 8/26
New York Rangers 8/27
Philadelphia Flyers 8/28
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/29
Washington Capitals 8/30