NHL 2014-15 team preview: San Jose Sharks

NHL 2014-15 team preview: San Jose Sharks
August 1, 2014, 4:00 pm
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(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

As part of our summer series previewing the 2014-15 NHL season, CSNwashington.com is analyzing all 30 NHL teams, division by division. This week, we take a look at the Western Conference’s Pacific Division.

Today: SAN JOSE SHARKS

2013-14 record: 51-22-9, 111 points

Where they finished: 2nd in the Pacific; 3rd in the West; tied for 4th in the NHL

Coach:  Todd McLellan (7th season)

Key additions: LW John Scott, LW Tye McGinn

Key subtractions:  D Dan Boyle, D Brad Stuart, RW Martin Havlat

Projected Lineup

Forwards

Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Matthew Nieto

James Sheppard – Tommy Wingels – Tyler Kennedy

Raffi Torres – Andrew Desjardins – Mike Brown

Extras: John Scott, Tye McGinn, Adam Burish

Defense

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Brent Burns

Matt Irwin – Jason Demers

Mirco Mueller – Justin Braun

Extra: Scott Hannan

Goaltenders

Alex Stalock – Antti Niemi

Our take:  After becoming just the fourth team in NHL history to blow a three-games-to-none lead in the playoffs, a distinction the Sharks accomplished in the first round against the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angels Kings, general manager Doug Wilson promised his team would get younger.

The Sharks did by trading the rights to 38-year-old defenseman Dan Boyle and 34-year-old defenseman Brad Stuart and buying out the final year of 33-year-old Martin Havlat’s contract, but did they get any better?

The only summer pickups by the Sharks were enforcer John Scott and depth forward Tye McGinn, neither of whom may be in the opening-night lineup in 2014-15.

The lack of player movement suggests the Sharks believe they can win again with a core group of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture, who helped guide the Sharks to 111 points last season and a playoff berth for the  10th straight season.

A healthy season from Tomas Hertl and Raffi Torres should help offset the departure of Havlat, but the Sharks did not improve their blue line and could take a step backward this season. If they get off to a slow start, look for some big changes in San Jose, either behind the bench or in the front office.

Offseason Grade:  D

Will they make the playoffs in 2014-15?  Yes.