Checking in with a mailbag after the Sharks kicked off their longest road trip of the season Tuesday night, with perhaps their most impressive win so far.
First, a couple questions regarding goalies Martin Jones and Aaron Dell…
Is Jones getting overworked? He hasn't looked too good and there've been many goals he would want back lately. (Jessica Gaeta)
What game on the road trip are we likely to see Dell start? (Sam Tageson)
Coming off of his shutout against the Capitals, Martin Jones is a pedestrian 6-6 with a 2.33 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. He’s also second in the NHL with 670 minutes played, trailing only Edmonton’s Cam Talbot.
Coach Pete DeBoer pointed out last week that fatigue shouldn’t be a factor with Jones this early in the season. After all, the Sharks have only played one of their 16 back-to-backs on the schedule, and Aaron Dell got the back end of that against the Islanders on Oct. 18.
Still, Jones got the bulk of the work in the first half of last season when Alex Stalock became unreliable, and his numbers declined fairly significantly month-over-month. He went from a 1.74 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in October to a 2.45 GAA and .914 SP in November, and a 3.06 GAA and .889 SP in December. Jones saw at least some playing time in 34 of the first 40 games. It’s fair to wonder if he suffers from playing too often.
As for Dell, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get a game on the road trip. The Sharks are fortunate that they have days off between all six matches, but I’d throw him in for Carolina on Nov. 15. The Sharks have already had luck with one rookie goalie in that building, when Troy Grosenick pitched a 45-save shutout there on Nov. 17, 2014.
Still too early to make any judgment (though maybe that’s not the right word—brain is exhausted from the election) on how [Mikkel] Boedker and [David] Schlemko are fitting in? Seems like Schlemko is a bit further along, but I’m just a armchair critic. (Alden Tanaka)
No question that David Schlemko has fit in better so far. His 30 shots are second among defenseman (behind Brent Burns, of course), and he has the fourth-best shot attempt percentage in close games (58.25, best among Sharks blueliners). He’s made a few blatant defensive zone turnovers, but for a third defense pair, the Sharks could do much, much worse than he and Brenden Dillon, who has been equally impressive. At $2.1 million for four years, he could end up being a huge bargain.
Boedker has been a disappointment so far with just two goals (his only two points) in 13 games. He also has just 15 shots, so he’s not exactly creating much, either. To me, Kevin Labanc skating on the second line against the Capitals was a signal that Boedker’s slow start is a concern for the coaching staff, too. He has to pick it up.
Where does Patty land at the trade deadline? (Nathanael Lierly)
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, it’s only November. That said, I just don’t see a market for a 37-year-old winger with two even strength points in 13 games that carries a $6.67 million cap hit.
I do find it interesting, though, that as often as DeBoer has shaken up his lines, he hasn’t put Marleau in the top six to start a game yet. I believe Marleau will play out the last year of his contract here in San Jose, but nothing has happened to make me think he’ll return next season. There are just too many prospects in the system that play his position, and he may have to fight to keep his job this year as the weeks and months go by.