San Jose Sharks: Are They The Team To Beat In The Western Conference?

By Randy Holt
Joe Thornton
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks are off to an absolutely fantastic start this season. They currently sit at the top of the Western Conference, and are tied for the highest point total in the league in this young season, with 10 points, out of a possible 10. They’ve won all five of their games this season, and have done so rather decisively.

To say the Sharks have been dominant this season would be a bit of an understatement. They’ve run away with each of these first five contests, and currently boast the best goal differential in the league, and it isn’t even close. The Sharks have scored 24 goals across five tilts, while only allowing seven.

Of course, only one of their five wins this season has come on the road. Once this team has to spend a little more time away from the comfort of the tank, then we’ll see what this team is really made of. Even so, it’s hard not to like this team as the class of the Western Conference at this point early on.

Is it too early to declare a team as the top dog in either conference? Probably. Nonetheless, this is a Sharks team that we know is built to be successful. This is not much different from the team that was the no. 1 seed in the postseason back in 2009-10, and they may actually be better than that club.

We know about the veteran offensive talent. Joe Thornton isn’t likely going to decline anytime soon, and Joe Pavelski represents one of the more underrated offensive players in the game. Logan Couture is a budding superstar, and don’t forget about ol’ Patrick Marleau either.

Brent Burns is a tough matchup now that he’s a forward permanently, and Tomas Hertl is an exciting player to watch as well. Add in the likes of Tyler Kennedy, and this Sharks offense is much deeper than what we’ve seen in previous years. Could that help to prevent them from fizzling out in the postseason?

On the blue line, they’re not great, but they’re solid and they’re pretty deep. It’s not a group that is going to contribute a ton in the offensive end, outside of Dan Boyle, but the mix of Brad StuartMarc-Edouard Vlasic, and Scott Hannan is a group that not many forwards will want to mess with.

As a group of skaters, the Sharks are as good as it gets, particularly up front. They can put pucks in the net with the best in the game. Add in Antti Niemi, who was a Vezina Trophy finalist last year, and this team is even more dangerous. There’s no reason to think that this team couldn’t take home the no. 1 seed in the Western Conference, and if what we’ve seen so far is any indication, this may finally be the year the Sharks shake their playoff demons.

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