QUI­ETLY EF­FI­CIENT

It’s the San Jose way to re­main com­pet­i­tive in an un­der­stated but pro­gres­sive man­ner

The Hockey News - - NHL - – BC

THERE’S A

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.

JOE PAVEL­SKI

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