The San Jose Sharks’ offense was on the attack last season finishing third in the league in scoring behind the Washington Capitals and the Chicago Blackhawks. All four lines were able to put pressure on opponents creating turnovers, scoring opportunities, and kept the defensive end void of play.
The Sharks displayed great hands with their passing, sniping, leading the league winning 55.6% of all faceoffs, and cleaning up around the net. They look like a team who will be able to keep the fast paced attack going during the coming season.
Center Logan Couture, an energetic and talented player, will have to step up in the place of Manny Malholtra — who will not return for the 2010-11 season. Based on what he displayed last year in a Sharks jersey, the Sharks are in for a treat.
Couture has showed hunger on the ice and the potential for great talent on the ice. He was able to pressure the opposition in all zones by continuously moving his feet and getting in their faces. Couture played with a peskiness that forced turnovers and created offensive opportunities in the regular season and postseason. In 25 regular season games, he netted five goals and in 15 playoff games tallied four. As he plays, his abilities increase. Get ready to forget all about Malholtra.
Left wing Patrick Marleau resigned with the Sharks before the 2010 free agency period. Marleau completes what could be considered the best offensive line in the NHL during the 2009-10 season. Marleau rejoins his fellow linemates — center Joe Thornton and right winger Dany Heatley — for the 2010-11 season. The trio combined for a season total of 103 goals and 151 assists, and followed with a postseason tally of 13 goals and 25 assists.
The top line for the Sharks’ passing, awareness of each other, puck protection, and energy paved the way for their impressive production and success for the team. Surprisingly to many, this line’s performance was still great during the playoffs. Last summer’s addition of Heatley proved to be the perfect medicine for postseason choking for his linemates. Expect great things once again from the dynamic trio.
A recent poll on SJSharks.com, showed that fans would put their faith in Joe Pavelski to score on a last second penalty shot to win the game, he led the pack amassing 52% of the votes.
Pavelski is a vital part of the Sharks’ offense adding depth with his incredible skill. His value comes when the powerful first line exits the ice and he comes on keeping up the pressure, proving to be almost as dangerous. He is great around the net and can let loose tough shots for goaltenders to stop. Little Joe’s hands help him win games for the Sharks in the Shootout, with a 51.5% success rate for his career.
Right winger Devin Setoguchi re-signed with the Sharks during the 2010 free agency period. He has a lot of talent, able to boost scoring for the secondary lines. Setoguchi can be a sniper and knows how to end the play with a puck in the net. His and Pavelski’s abilities are a relief to Todd Mclellan who has the option of switching the lines during slumps, and the offense won’t suffer.
Left winger Ryan Clowe plays with energy every time he steps onto the ice. What makes him formidable is that he never stops skating. Clowe is a physical player who dished 157 hits last season. He has the talent for pestering teams into rushing the play and caused turnovers. Ryan is a useful resource in shootouts, going 3-for-9 with a 33.3% success rate tying Pavelski’s percentage for the 2009-10 seaon.
Center Dwight Helminen is a player who will fight for loose pucks anywhere on the ice, proving to be a menace in the slot. He also likes to throw around his weight, posting nine hits in four games last season and six in seven playoff appearances.
Left Winger Jamie McGinn is another player who likes some contact, throwing thirty more hits than appearances in a Sharks Jersey last season. He is physical and likes to fight his way to the front of the net while bringing traffic with him to make a goaltender’s job much harder.
Rright Winger Jed Ortmeyer is a pesky player who combines speed and annoyance to get into opposing defenses’ minds. He gets in the way and draws penalties. He likes to use his body to shake things up. Ortmeyer is able to keep opponents busy by the way he pursues the puck.
Center Scott Nichol is an instigator looking to hit any opponent who touches the puck. He likes to keep things rough and disturb opponents’ psyche, creating havoc on the other bench. Nichol is usefulness is for getting other teams upset and off their game. Fellow center Torrey Mitchell helps provide pressure on the team to force plays which end in turnovers. He moves his feet and fights hard every shift.
Signed as a free agent during the off-season, right winger Jamal Mayers is the newest addition to the Sharks roster. He was brought to San Jose to kill penalties, and display his speed and physicality. Sharks GM Doug Wilson expects Mayers to fit in well with the offense as a third or fourth liner.