With the NHL season around the corner, and most of the offseason craziness subsiding, now seems as good a time as ever to preview the Coyotes tough competition in the Pacific Division for next year. First up will be the San Jose Sharks.
The first thing fans will notice next year when they see the San Jose Sharks are the big names that departed this off season. Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Jamal Mayers, and Scott Nichol are among the names of players the Sharks lost.
Don’t think the Sharks just sat back and watched this talent swim away however, they were aggressive in acquiring the necessary talent to keep this team at the top of the standings. They went out and acquired right winger Martin Havlat and veteran center Michal Handzus to fill the voids of Setoguchi and Heatley. Andrew Murray, Brent Burns, and Jim Vandermeer were also brought in to add veteran grit and leadership to a team that plans to contend for the Stanley Cup.
Last year the Sharks finished first in the Pacific Division and second overall in the Western Conference with a 48-25-9 record. San Jose was a gritty team last year that used their defense to get their offense going. With their off season moves, the Sharks are hoping their top two lines click like a well oiled machine. Heatley had some great seasons in San Jose, but the management felt there needed to be a change since the Sharks failed in the playoffs again. The Sharks hopes Havlat can step in where Heatley left and lead them to a Cup.
San Jose will be a top echelon team for yet another season, the question though is if they can take that success into the playoffs.