The new NHL season for the 2019-20 San Jose Sharks has not gone too well. So far they have lost three straight games and haven’t been in any of them. They have given up 12 goals and only scored three. That means they are getting outscored by a four-to-one ratio.
Not a good formula for early-season success.
2019-20 San Jose Sharks Off to an Awful Start
It’s Only Three Games, no Need to Panic, Right?
That could be true if they weren’t getting beaten so easily. They looked absolutely outplayed by the Vegas Golden Knights in their initial home-and-home two-game tilt. These two teams are building quite the rivalry but the Vegas team dominated here. The Golden Knights can make any team look silly, but the Sharks made it easy for them.
The defence has not stopped opponent’s offensive surges and both Martin Jones and Aaron Dell have not been able to keep pucks out of the net. Jones was pulled after two periods between the pipes in favour of Dell in the second game. Dell then started the game against the Anaheim Ducks but better results were not accomplished.
Off-season Moves Are Coming Back to Haunt Sharks
There are not too many NHL teams who can lose four key players due to free agency and trade and still remain competitive. Yet, the Sharks went ahead and paid Erik Karlsson a boatload of money ($92 million over eight-years) to stay in San Jose. That, in turn, put them in salary cap trouble and they weren’t able to keep any of their free agents. Losing players like Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi, Gustav Nyquist, and Justin Braun may have been too high a price to pay.
These decisions are now showing up in the play of the Sharks. Losing 128 points from four departed players is starting to show even if it is early in the new season. The other component which is showing is how much they miss their former captain Joe Pavelski. Not only his statistics but his leadership. When a team starts out the season so poorly it’s the captain in the locker room who tries to keep a sinking ship from going down.
To Make Matters Worse
This team does have some good young players like Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, and Kevin Lebanc. They also carry some older players on defence and on forward which could start to impede any progress they intend to make. Brent Burns is 34-years-old. Joe Thornton is 40-years-old. Marc-Edouard Vlasic is 32-years-old.
The Sharks must play the Nashville Predators next on Tuesday night and things could get worse if that’s possible. They then play the Chicago Blackhawks, Carolina Hurricanes, Buffalo Sabres (home-and-home), Montreal Canadiens, and Toronto Maple Leafs. That is a tough schedule especially when you’re struggling to win games.
If the Sharks can’t determine what is going wrong, they could bury themselves in quite a hole. The only bright spot may be that the Pacific Division is a weak division. Playing the way they have been will in no way help them to challenge the Golden Knights for the division title… or perhaps even one of the top-three guaranteed spots for making the playoffs.
Gee, the Sharks a wild-card team? Nah… maybe worse.
2019-20 San Jose Sharks Main Photo: