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As part of the ‘rest of the West,’ San Jose’s had a middling off-season

SI's Allan Muir gave a very blunt look at the Western Conference's non-playoff teams to determine whether they've really improved themselves this summer, and I haven't read much of anything about the San Jose Sharks yet, so:

San Jose Sharks (89 points, 12th)

Underperforming veterans, sophomore slumps, brutal goaltending and a fractured core combined to make the Sharks last season’s most disappointing team. It would be nice to paint 2014-15 as an aberration but even after a summer of shakeups this group is more likely to replicate its 15th-place finish in goals-for (2.73) and 24th in goals-against (2.76) than match it top-four results of both categories in 2013-14.

GM Doug Wilson brought in a new voice behind the bench in Peter DeBoer and moved on from Antti Niemi by investing in Martin Jones, an unproven starting goalie. There’s potential for improvement with this swap, but the 25-year-old is a work-in-progress. There’s also risk with the addition of defenseman Paul Martin as well. The veteran blueliner is a solid puck mover and reliable minutes muncher, but lacks the physical game to be ideally suited for the rough-and-tumble Western Conference. He should, though, make an impact on a penalty kill that was a miserable 25th last year (78.5%).

Joel Ward brings that missing physical presence and despite being 34 has relatively low mileage. He can elevate up and down the roster as needed and should be a nice add to the top-nine.

It’s tough to rule anyone out in the Pacific, especially with the Canucks looking ready to slide, but the Sharks will need to make their own breaks to earn a spot.

Muir continues...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: doug+wilson, joel+ward, martin+jones, paul+martin, peter+deboer, san+jose+sharks

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com