The San Jose Sharks are off to a terrific start once again this season, something that’s become something of a theme for them over the course of the past several years. The larger task for them is seeing it carry over into the postseason. While this goal relates to the team overall, it relates also to one player in particular.
In a similar situation last year, we saw the Sharsk come out firing before fizzling out about halfway through the year, picking their play back up, and eventually fading again in the playoffs. The one player who carried them through that torrid stretch early on in the year was veteran forward Patrick Marleau.
Through the first few weeks of the 2013 regular season, Marleau looked like a potential Hart Trophy finalist. He recorded points in each of the first eight games of last year, totaling 14. He finished the season with only 31 points in 48 games, meaning he only registered another 17 in the other 42 tilts.
This year, he’s off to an awfully similar start. Marleau has 12 points in the first 10 games of the season for the Sharks, notching at least a point in nine of those first 10 games. Of those dozen points he’s recorded, eight of them have coming from putting the puck in the back of the net.
There’s no doubt that Marleau is off to a terrific start, just as his team is as a whole. But just as folks outside of the organization refuse to take the Sharks and their hot start seriously until they prove capable of performing in the playoffs, the same skepticism can be found swirling around Marleau.
And that’s probably the way it should be. After last year’s collapse, and given his age, there isn’t a real reason to trust him at this point. Marleau is going to have to prove it over the long haul in order to reestablish himself as a real offensive threat. Keep an eye on his performance as the season wears on, particularly as we near the midway point of the season.