It’s the San Jose way to remain competitive in an understated but progressive manner
confident steadiness in the way the San Jose Sharks go about their business. It starts at the top with 16-year GM Doug Wilson, filters down through no-nonsense coach Peter DeBoer and cascades through the roster via the seasoned leadership of Joe Thornton, Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. San Jose never seems to draft very high and, as a result, the team always comes in pretty low in Future Watch’s team-by-team prospect ranking. Yet, there are always reinforcements ready to step in, year after year. IMMEDIATE NEEDS: The young guns came through with impressive middle-six scoring this season. With Thornton’s future uncertain – and four other soon-to-be UFA forwards – the Sharks’ second tier will have to carry more of the scoring load. San Jose has no margin for a drop-off if they’re to remain contenders. LONG-TERM NEEDS: The Sharks have selected just one defenseman with their first pick in the past 11 drafts, and Mirco Mueller has moved on. San Jose did well getting Burns and Brenden Dillon in trades, and Vlasic and Justin Braun with picks beyond the first round. But the band is getting old and it’s time to draft some more ‘D.’ CAP SITUATION: Evander Kane blended in well with a mature, responsible cast of vets, and there’s a desire to keep him. But with new deals for Vlasic, Martin Jones, Aaron Dell and Chris Tierney kicking in, it means Thornton will face a haircut from his $8 million. Paul Martin may be on the move.
IN THE SYSTEM 2018-19:
Left winger Rudolfs Balcers led the AHL Barracudas in scoring at 20. If he can gain physical strength there will be an NHL job for him with so many outgoing UFAs. Pencil in Tim Heed as no lower than the No. 7 blueliner – higher if or when Martin exits. DID YOU KNOW: Do the Sharks have another Kevin Labanc in the works? Jayden Halbgewachs was a 5-foot-8 forward with just four goals and eight points in 59 WHL games in his draft year of 2015. Three years and two 100-plus point seasons later, the speedy pivot signed with the Sharks as a free agent.