Five observations with Sharks facing elimination in Game 5 vs. Vegas

Five observations with Sharks facing elimination in Game 5 vs. Vegas

After twelve periods of this first round, the Sharks have experienced some highs, and more lows and now find themselves one bad contest away from elimination.  In order to advance, they’ll have to perform flawlessly three games in a row.  The main frustration after Game 4 comes from “what could have been”… a statement win by San Jose would have been a statement in leveling the series, on the road, despite back-to-back losses, and all without the suspended Joe Thornton.     
1. The results are not getting easier to digest.  Game 2 saw the Sharks post a valiant early comeback, only to fall short late on two shorthanders and a controversial call. Game 3 saw the Sharks give up first-minute goals in every period and never really give themselves a chance.  Game 4 didn’t see the Sharks light the lamp.  What’s amazing is that Game 1’s outcome and elation was only one week ago, but now feels like an eternity.
2. It’s tough to name a best Sharks player from Game 4. Marcus Sorensen hit two posts. Tomas Hertl had five shots, and Logan Couture laid six hits. There was not a standout performance of note.  

There were also not sustained stretches where you could say San Jose was dangerous with the puck. Their best looks came late in the first period while Shea Theodore served a slashing penalty, but it was ultimately Theodore who came out of the box and made it a 2-0 game before the first intermission.
3. Discipline didn’t help. The Sharks were chasing the scoreboard all night long, and despite outshooting Las Vegas 18-7 in the first, San Jose only had two shots on goal in the final period. A majority of that was due to all the Golden Knight Power Play time in the third, as San Jose was in the box six separate times in the last twenty minutes alone.
4. The ailments are obvious and mounting. Erik Karlsson doesn’t look normal and seems to be doing his very best to conceal and perform through the lower-body injury. Timo Meier played only 11:29 which must indicate some effects of that spill he took back in Edmonton are greater than we know.  Logan Couture only skated 14:29, which makes me curious, especially in a game where the Sharks were already down a regular centerman in Thornton.  

Not to mention however Joe Pavelski’s mouth is surviving in trying to eat and sleep regularly, and the absence of Marc-Edouard Vlasic who got hit with a puck.  All teams standing are banged up at this juncture, none of them use it as an excuse, but it should be noted some things we can’t see could be factoring into the results we are witnessing.

[RELATED: Sharks' frustration with Fluery evident after Game 4 loss]
5. Who is the favored goalie to start Game 5?  If you believe in the “parachute” mentality, Pete DeBoer has already pulled the ripcord, and it’s Aaron Dell’s chance to make a stand. It also might make more sense considering Martin Jones has been pulled in each of the last two.  

The bigger factor is that overall play without the puck still continues to put the Sharks in difficult situations. Odd man rushes. Unmarked netfront chances. When you’re allowing too many key opportunities, and not getting nearly enough key saves, the combination doesn’t lead to great places.

Sharks to host top prospects, four 2019 draft picks at development camp


Sharks to host top prospects, four 2019 draft picks at development camp

Four of the Sharks' picks from the 2019 NHL Draft will attend the team's development camp in San Jose this week.

Second-round picks Artemi Kniazev and Dillon Hamliuk, as well as fourth-rounder Yegor Spiridonov and sixth-rounder Santeri Hatakka will particpate, as will top Sharks prospects including Ryan Merkley (2018 first-round pick), Mario Ferraro (2017 second-round pick) and Sasha Chmelevski (2017 sixth-round pick).

In all, 46 players are scheduled to attend when camp gets underway Tuesday, and the prospects will scrimmage twice in camp.

The first scrimmage takes place Wednesday, and the prospects will scrimmage again Friday night at SAP Center. Tickets cost $10 (or $20 for four), with "net proceeds benefitting the Sharks foundation," the team said in a release.

[RELATED: How will Sharks' salary-cap crunch affect Meier?]

The full list of players can be found here. 

Sharks free-agency decisions: Will star winger Timo Meier stay or go?


Sharks free-agency decisions: Will star winger Timo Meier stay or go?

One could argue the 2018-19 season was when Sharks winger Timo Meier "arrived."

The 22-year-old honed his skills as a power forward this past campaign, cementing himself as a staple in the Sharks lineup. His 30-goal regular season was tied with Evander Kane for third-best on the team, and his 15 points in the Stanley Cup playoffs tied for third-best with Tomas Hertl.

Now, Meier is primed to headline a stacked restricted free-agent class generating plenty of buzz this offseason. He also is one of a handful of young Sharks who can become an RFA this summer 

Here's a look at why Meier could stay in San Jose for a long time -- and why he potentially could be on the move.

Why he could stay

There's no secret here. Signing Meier is one of the Sharks' top priorities this offseason. 

Mix Meier's upward in-season progress with the amount of responsibility he has already taken on as a young player, and you have a player any team would want on their roster. The Swiss product has also demonstrated a strong work ethic and drive to continue building his game, as he said on locker-room cleanout day at the end of May that he still has room to improve. 

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said that same day that he had already had a few discussions with Meier's agent. Although the nature of those talks have remained private, Wilson did reference that many of the team's young stars in the past have been signed to bridge deals, which carry a smaller salary-cap hit over a shorter term as a "bridge" to a bigger contract down the line. Tomas Hertl, for instance signed a two-year, $6 million contract as an RFA in 2016 before signing a five-year, $22.5 million contract last summer. 

With that knowledge in mind, the Sharks likely want to reach a similar deal with Meier before the end of the summer.

Why he could go

Before everyone starts freaking out too much -- yes, it's likely that Meier and the Sharks will reach a deal. But San Jose's lack of cap space makes things a little more complicated, and the possibility of an offer sheet can't be ignored. 

A player of Meier's caliber will demand a healthy payday, and the Sharks have just under $14.5 million in salary-cap space according to CapFriendly. If San Jose can't move more pieces around and get some relief under the cap, signing Meier to a second contract that isn't a bridge deal will be difficult.

The Sharks undoubtedly want to avoid what the Toronto Maple Leafs experienced with William Nylander last season. The young forward didn't re-sign until Dec. 1, and struggled to find his goal-scoring touch in 54 regular-season games. 

With conversations underway, there's hope that nothing close to the Nylander situation will take place. An offer sheet doesn't seem realistic either, considering a player has not signed one since 2013. 

[RELATED: Donskoi reportedly receiving 'strong interest' in free agency]

The verdict

The Sharks are going to get a deal done with Meier. Given San Jose's history of signing young players, there's every reason to believe the two sides will find common ground before training camp begins in September.

That, however, could require the Sharks clearing additional salary-cap space to make an offer Meier will accept. It might take a little time and debate before both sides are happy.

By the end of the offseason, however, conversations surrounding Meier should go back to what he can do for the Sharks in the upcoming season rather than his contract.