The 2012-2013 season was filled with highs and lows for the San Jose Sharks. They started off hot in the first month, while cooling off significantly in the middle of the season. After a roster shake up, San Jose was rejuvenated, which translated into wins on the ice. It seemed like the Sharks were destined to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. In the opening round, San Jose swept the Vancouver Canucks in four straight games, including two overtimes. The next challenge for the Sharks was facing the reigning champions, the Los Angeles Kings. In a hard fought series, both teams exchanged blows, in route to a game seven showdown. Once the horn blew, solidifying a King’s victory, the season was over. Despite having the second longest active streak of reaching the postseason, Sharks’ fans are left, yet again, with a sour taste in their mouths.
The San Jose Sharks’ general manager, Doug Wilson, has had a quite off season. Due to the salary cap, the front office has little wiggle room. First order of business was the contract extensions of Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, locking them up longterm. The acquisition of Tyler Kennedy on draft day has significant value. Expect Kennedy, as well as Tomas Hertl, to contribute on the second unit. Alex Stalock is also looking to make an impact on the team at back up goalie. San Jose heads into the 2013-2014 season with essentially the same team, hoping for better results.
As I look over the roster, it’s clear that the Sharks have positives and negatives. Once Brent Burns was moved to forward, he injected new blood into the lineup. In the final 24 games, Burns finished with 9 goals and 11 assists. Antti Niemi also had an amazing 2012-2013 campaign, as he finished with a .924 save percentage during the regular season and a .930 save percentage in the playoffs. Martin Havlat is having off season surgery and with the lack of depth at the forward position, San Jose hopes he can return in time for the season opener. Patrick Marleau started off the season causing havoc for opposing goalies, but ended the season with .65 points-per-game, his lowest average since the 2007-2008 season. Although the obvious strengthens and weaknesses of the team, the Sharks have proven that they have the ability to overcome and perceiver.
Recently, the complete San Jose Sharks’ schedule was released. The season opener versus the Vancouver Canucks takes place Thursday, October 3rd. The majority of the games, 77 to be exact, will be televized on Comcast SportsNet California. Five games will be televized nation wide on the NBC Sports Network; most notably January 5th, as the Sharks travel to Chicago to face the Blackhawks. Other important match ups are January 27th and April 3rd as the Los Angeles Kings come to San Jose, also on NBC. The Sharks have reached the conference finals three times in the past nine season. Expectations for a Stanley Cup are running high as the 2013-2014 NHL season is a little over a month away. Fans hope that their beloved San Jose Sharks can finally be called Stanley Cup champions.