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So close, nowwhat?? Sharks yearly review

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PRESEASON OUTLOOK They pulled off a steal adding Karlsson to the defense they looked to be the odds on favorite to win the Western conference.


FINAL RECORD 46-27-9 101 points, 2nd in Pacific, stunned the Knights in seven hard games (scoring 3 goals on a late controversial five minute power play then winning in overtime in game seven) holding off the upstart Avalanche to win a hard fought series before finally running out of gas losing to the Blues in six tough games.


HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR Down 3 games to 1 to the Knights they exercised their playoff demons coming back to win a series that was all but over, Martin Jones who was at best average all year was a stud in games 5 and 6 setting up the euphoric miracle that was the third period/overtime of game seven. Game six was won in double overtime, seven in overtime, that series was arguably the most fun of any series during the playoff season.


 LOW POINT OF THE YEAR They bested the Blues in game 3 of the conference final in overtime on a goal by Karlsson to go up 2 games to one and then.....well they simply ran out of gas. The Blues put it all together winning the next three games by a combined score of 12-2 to send the Sharks home with a ton of free agents and questions about where they go from here. There habit of losing series to eventual cup winners or at the least cup finalists continues. With the Blues and Capitals winning cups over the past two years the Sharks now have the mantle of the team most in need of a cup who always comes up short.


WHAT WENT RIGHT Brent Burns was a beast as well as a wookie, leading all defenseman in the game with 83 points as well as leading the Sharks in scoring. Hertl had 35 goals and established himself as a force at both ends, Meier chipped in 30, Couture had a solid season and then was a force of nature in the postseason. Captain Pavelski led the balanced attack with 38 goals. Evander Kane had 30 and led the league in penalty minutes. Lebanc quietly had a very underrated season. Donskoi and Sorenson were solid third liners. Thornton is not the play he once was but as a 3C he is arguably the best 3C in the game. Dillon was a plus 19 on a team that had only one other player over plus ten.


WHAT WENT WRONG Karlsson was good but not great and his first and possibly only season in San Jose must be considered a bit of a disappointment. Nyquist came over from Detroit to help balance the top three lines and while not bad was a poor fit. Braun was pretty bad, but what mostly drug the Sharks down all year was their goaltending. Jones would follow decent stretches with very bad ones, Dell was a third of a goal per game worse. The two of them, also known as the arson squad drug a well balanced solid team down a peg or two and Jones failed them badly against the Blues.


FREE AGENTS oodles and oodles. Pavelski, long time captain may be squeezed out, Karlsson is in negotiations and supposedly wants 10 million plus a year long term which is a hell of a risk for an injury proned superstar. Thornton is a free agent and will likely wait until late July to see how much money they have to pay him. Nyquist was a rental and will be elsewhere.Tim Heed, a serviceable 3rd pair defender, as well as Donskoi a very usable bottom six forward are going to be hard to fit under the cap. On top of that Meier is arbitration eligible, Money is going to be a problem going forward, and Jones still has five years left on his deal. And they only have 1 pick in the first four rounds. In other words everything people say about Columbus and to a lesser extent about Nashville apply in spades to the Sharks.


OFFSEASON QUESTION MARKS: Can they resign both Pavelski and Karlsson? If not, which one do you resign? Will they have enough cap room left to make it worth while for Jumbo to make another run? Can they fix the goalie issue internally, or can they find a taker for Jones and start over in net?


 Another year older and deeper in debt.  

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