Years of frustration have come crumbling in on the Sharks. Despite a top-four group of forwards that’s as good as any other team in the league, the Sharks fell apart in the second half and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003. It’s only the second time in the 17-year career of homegrown talent Patrick Marleau that he’s gone home in early April without playing any post-season games.
Round 1, pick 9
Round 2, pick 39
Round 4, pick 106
Round 5, picks 130, 142
Round 6, pick 160
Round 7, picks 190, 210
San Jose needs a top-flight goalie in the worst way. Antti Niemi has had some good seasons and some very good seasons in his five years with the Sharks, but he never rose to the occasion in the playoffs, and the team is sure to let the 31-year-old Finn walk as a UFA. The Sharks also need depth among the D-corps.
Marleau and Joe Thornton are in their twilight years as go-to players, and the Sharks don’t have much scoring depth in the system. San Jose’s relative success the past decade has meant it has missed out on sure things in the first round of the draft. The Sharks haven’t had a top-15 pick since selecting Logan Couture ninth overall in 2007. Because of trades, they’ve had just four first-round picks in the past seven drafts.
The Sharks have half their payroll tied up in their top six skaters – Thornton, Marleau, Couture, Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. While that’s not unusual, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for a difference-making goalie and a strong supporting cast. The Sharks need to find some value somewhere.
IN THE SYSTEM 2015-16:
Though he won’t turn 20 until the opening week of the season, Nikolay Goldobin would be a welcome addition to the second or third line. He has the offensive smarts to become a game-breaker.
DID YOU KNOW:
At the 2004 and 2005 drafts, San Jose selected six goalies in a span of 13 picks. Only Thomas Greiss (94th in 2004) and Alex Stalock (112th in 2005) had any staying power in the NHL. Just one (Taylor Dakers) of the other four even made it to the AHL.