Zettler again part of Sharks coaching staff

Zettler again part of Sharks coaching staff

The Sharks filled the vacancy on the coaching staff left by Bob Boughner with a familiar name, as Rob Zettler has been hired to join Pete DeBoer’s staff. Zettler will work primarily with the defensemen and penalty kill.

Zettler, 49, formerly served as a Sharks assistant coach under Ron Wilson from 2002 through 2008. The Sharks appeared in the Western Conference Final in 2004, and won the Pacific Division in 2004 and 2008. Zettler is also a former Sharks player, claimed from Minnesota in the 1991 expansion draft. The defenseman posted one goal and 18 assists for 19 points in 196 games from 1991-94.

"It is both an exciting challenge and a privilege to come back to an organization that I have so much passion for, and I am happy to get my family back home to San Jose," Zettler said in a statement. "I want to thank Pete, Doug [Wilson] and his staff for their time during the hiring process and for this opportunity. Ultimately, I want to win, and I look forward to working together and building on the success this staff has had."

Wilson said: "[Zettler’s] familiarity with our organization, many of our players and our area cannot be overstated.”

Most recently, Zettler was the head coach of the Syracuse Crunch (AHL) from late in the 2012-13 season through 2015-16. He posted a 108-90-41 record with Syracuse, the primary affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Rob has extensive experience working as a coach at the NHL level and developing prospects as a head coach in the AHL," DeBoer said.  "As we researched candidates during this process, reputable people that I spoke with kept coming back to me with the same words: communicator, teacher, and professional.  We think he will be a tremendous asset to our staff."

Boughner, an assistant under DeBoer for the last two seasons, was named as the head coach of the Florida Panthers.

Sharks vs. Wild watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs


Sharks vs. Wild watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

The San Jose Sharks will look to make it five in a row as they close out their two-game road trip with a visit to Minnesota to take on the Wild.

Team Teal is coming off of a come-from-behind victory over the Blackhawks in Chicago last Sunday. After Chicago roared out to an early 2-0 lead, San Jose rallied to a 7-3 victory with all but five skaters tallied points in the contest. The Sharks now sit in third place in the Pacific Division, two points behind the Anaheim Ducks and five points behind the Calgary Flames.

Those same Flames beat the Wild 2-1 on Saturday in a fight-heavy contest. Top-scoring Wild defenseman Matt Dumba exchanged punches with Calgary bruiser Matthew Tkachuk just 40 seconds into the game, then didn’t play in the second or third period because he sustained an upper-body injury. It’s a big blow to Minnesota’s depth, which will be tested by a Sharks team coming in with four straight wins.

This is the second time this season the Sharks and the Wild will meet. In their previous meeting in San Jose, the Sharks won 4-3.

Sharks projected lines and pairs:

Evander Kane – Joe Pavelski – Joonas Donskoi
Tomas Hertl – Logan Couture – Timo Meier
Marcus Sorensen – Joe Thornton – Kevin Labanc
Melker Karlsson – Barclay Goodrow – Lukas Radil

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Radim Simek – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Erik Karlsson

Martin Jones – projected starter
Aaron Dell

Wild projected lines and pairs:

Jordan Greenway – Eric Staal – Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise – Charlie Coyle – Nino Niederreiter
Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno – Joel Eriksson Ek – Erik Fehr

Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin – Greg Pateryn
Nick Seeler – Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk – projected starter
Alex Stalock

Sharks' latest four-game win streak due in part to fourth line success

Sharks' latest four-game win streak due in part to fourth line success

The Sharks have long expressed their desire to be a four-line team -- a squad that can roll out any forward combination and has success. As they’ve turned a corner over the last stretch of games, the forward depth is really starting to show. That is, in part, thanks to the recent surge from the fourth offensive line.

“Throughout a season, you can’t be a successful team unless you have all four lines going at different points of the year,” Logan Couture relayed to the media after the Sharks' 7-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday evening.

A game where the Sharks were down early in a two-goal hole and the fourth line started the come-from-behind dig out of it.

There’s been an ever-revolving turnstile of fourth-line centers for the first few months of the Sharks’ season – in part because of lineup changes due to injury, and in part, because that line simply hadn’t found chemistry yet.

San Jose’s forward assault opened up when Joe Thornton was moved to third-line center and found chemistry with Marcus Sorensen and Kevin Labanc. The move prompted some to question whether it made sense to number the lines at all. Nevertheless, it was difficult to throw away the idea of numbering the lines when that fourth combo still hadn’t found its footing.

Until a few games back, when Sharks’ bench boss Peter DeBoer moved winger Barclay Goodrow to the center position, placing Melker Karlsson and Lukas Radil on his wings. Ever since the move, the fourth line has been solidifying an identity. And the Sharks are better off because of it.

[RELATED: Erik Karlsson's offensive improvement]

“We want to come in every night and have an effect on the game,” Goodrow told the media after Sunday’s victory. “The fourth line’s pivotal.”

Both Goodrow and Karlsson found the back of the net during that game, with Radil setting up Karlsson for San Jose’s first goal on the evening. Safe to say that line had an effect on the game – and a positive one at that.

“That’s the kind of contributions we need from our fourth line,” DeBoer said. “That type of momentum, whether it’s a goal like it was tonight, but that kind of momentum. Momentum-type shifts.”

That momentum potentially comes from the fourth line playing a heavier game than they have earlier in the season. The addition of Radil – a 28-year-old rookie with KHL experience -- is a good compliment to Goodrow, who DeBoer calls “a big, strong guy” who’s “difficult to play against”. Karlsson rounds out the group nicely with his persistence and dependability.

“Melker consistently gives me the same game,” DeBoer added. “His production maybe isn’t there all the time, but you know what you’re getting from him every time he puts his uniform on.”

Consistency and grit are the additives this Sharks team needs to continue being successful. With the halfway point of the season in sight and competition in the Pacific Division the tightest it’s been all year, the team has to have the ability to roll out any line. If that line continues to play like it is right now, San Jose will be in good shape.

“It’s been a couple games,” DeBoer said of the fourth line’s success, “and we want to keep building it.”