The San Jose Sharks currently sit in fourth place in the Pacific Division, with 12 wins, eight losses, and two overtime losses. San Jose is currently looking at a wild-card playoff spot, but could easily lose this position to surging teams such as the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks. Players such as Logan Couture, Martin Jones and Tomas Hertl have been the real difference makers in the Sharks decent start. Top players Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski have had slow starts this season and have not been meeting expectations so far.
Slow Starts for San Jose Sharks Top Players
Brent Burns is coming off a career-best season. In 2016-17, Burns won the Norris Trophy for top defenseman, appeared in all 82 games for the Sharks and scored 29 goals and 47 assists. As of late, Number 88 has not played with the same poise as he has in seasons past.
In the month of October 2016, Burns scored three times and assisted on seven goals for 10 points in nine games. In October of 2017, he did not score and again had seven assists. Last November, Burns scored six goals and had five assists for 11 points. As of today in November, he has scored once and tallied two assists. In the month of November, Burns did not tally any points in key games against division rivals the Ducks, Canucks, or Los Angeles Kings.
Burns is taking similar amounts of shots on goal as in the past, he just can’t seem to get anything past the goalies. If Burns can find whatever allowed him to light the lamp so much last year, the Sharks will see a huge improvement in the wins column.
Pavelski is also off to a slower start than in seasons past. He finished last season with 29 goals and 39 assists. If he wants to meet those stats again, he will have to take it up a notch.
In October of 2016, Pavelski scored four goals had seven assists for eleven points. He followed this up in November of 2016 with three goals and seven assists, showing consistent play. Pavelski started this season with three goals and three assists in the month of October. He finishes November 2017 with just one goal and five assists.
Pavelski is showing improvement and stronger play though. He has three points in the last three games. Like Burns, he is putting the shots on net, nothing is going through. Pavelski is taking shots, just slightly less than in previous seasons. In October and November of 2016, he had taken 77 shots on goal. In October and November of 2017, he has taken 64 shots on goal.
If the Sharks want to be a real playoff contender, they will Burns and Pavelski to start scoring more. Their slow start has been noticeable. With Couture’s strong offence this season, the combination with two playing their best would create a whole new team.
Photo: SAN JOSE, CA – JANUARY 05: Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks looks on during the game against the Minnesota Wild at SAP Center on January 5, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)