San Jose Sharks Need A Win
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The San Jose Sharks Need A Win Now, Or Else It Could Hurt Their Roster This Summer

The Sharks are built to make a deep playoff run, but major are issues looming.

The San Jose Sharks Need A Win Now, Or Else It Could Hurt Their Roster This Summer

The San Jose Sharks have been known for a long time as a franchise with incredible talent that has never been able to win a Stanley Cup, the ultimate goal for all 31 teams. San Jose made the 2016 Stanley Cup Final where they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games, but other than that, they have been defeated before reaching the Final each year. Coming into this year, many pundits put them in the Final and some had them winning it all.

With the summer acquisition of all-star defenseman Erik Karlsson, the Sharks' defense core led by Brent Burns and Karlsson is one of the most potent in the NHL. The forward group is well balanced overall led by Joe Pavelski, Evander Kane, Logan Couture, Timo Meier, and Tomas Hertl, with several other depth players contributing on and off of the scoresheet. Even with these great pieces, the Sharks face many upcoming questions in the months to come.

One of the biggest issues for San Jose has been their goaltending. Starter Martin Jones currently has a 0.897 save percentage while backup Aaron Dell is at 0.892. These percentages are quite concerning heading towards the playoffs, as the Sharks will not be able to outscore their opponents in track meet type games. Playoff games in the NHL are typically tighter and lower scoring, so below average goaltending can be the difference between winning and losing a series.

The Sharks have a cap space crunch coming this summer. Erik Karlsson, currently earning $6.5 million against the salary cap, is an unrestricted free agent after the season. Despite his current groin issues, he is still a premier defenseman at 28 years old and will demand $10 million or more as a free agent, comparable to what LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty makes. ($11 million)

Karlsson is not the only major free agent for the Sharks. The aforementioned Pavelski is an unrestricted free agent (currently making $6 million) this summer as well and has scored 36 goals so far this year, his best since 2014. The problem is that Pavelski is 34 years old and will most likely decline over the next couple years, making this contract incredibly risky, which gives Doug Wilson the potential to let Pavelski go elsewhere.

Even with Joe Thornton's $5 million set to come off the books, Meier is a restricted free agent coming off of back to back 20+ goal seasons and will command about $5 million. Solid depth scorer Kevin Labanc is also a restricted free agent and will command $3.5-4 million. With all of these players set to make more next year, one of them could be forced to go, which would hurt the Sharks in the near future.

Considering the contract decisions that Wilson will have to make in the offseason, the 2nd place team in the Pacific Division has to make a run to the Stanley Cup Final this season. Anything less will be an incredible disappointment to the Sharks' players and fans and could also cause a major shakeup with the roster this upcoming offseason. Winning the Cup would render these issues to a mere afterthought for many after weeks of celebration.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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