5 Things San Jose Sharks Must Do To Make 2015-16 NHL Playoffs

By Jeff Henning

5 Things San Jose Sharks Must Do To Make 2015-16 NHL Playoffs

Brent Burns
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After a subpar 2014-2015 campaign that saw the San Jose Sharks miss the postseason for the first time in a decade -- after wholesale changes were made in the offseason -- this talented team is recharged and primed for another run deep into the playoffs.

5. Martin Jones Must Be The Real Deal

Martin Jones
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5. Martin Jones Must Be The Real Deal

Martin Jones
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It's always a risk betting the house on an inexperienced goalie. Martin Jones arrives from Los Angeles as the perennial backup to the elite Jonathan Quick. While Jones also performed well in L.A., it will be interesting to see if Jones can handle the workload of a true No. 1. If Jones is up to the task, there’s no limit for where the Sharks can go.

4. Veterans Need To Step Up

Patrick Marleau
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4. Veterans Need To Step Up

Patrick Marleau
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'Jumbo Joe' and Patrick Marleau have been with the Sharks since the dawn of time, and they’ve always been an offensively productive tandem. While Thornton had a respectable 2014-15 campaign, it was Marleau who dropped off significantly. Excluding the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Marleau posted his first sub-60 point total since 2007-08.

3. Young Forwards Continue To Develop

Tomas Hertl
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3. Young Forwards Continue To Develop

Tomas Hertl
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While it’s true Thornton and Marleau are on the wrong side of 30, there is a young nucleus in San Jose that's ready to shoulder more of the load. Tomas Hertl showed flashes of brilliance while posting 31 points last season. Hertl looks to be a nice complement to budding superstar Logan Couture. Skill-wise, Couture is the best center in the Pacific Division. He’s that good.

2. Players Must Buy Into New System

Joe Pavelski
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2. Players Must Buy Into New System

Joe Pavelski
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Todd McClellan’s system brought a lot of success to San Jose, but it was never really able to reach the ultimate prize. Now, after the McClellan marriage has finally ended, new coach Pete Deboer has a chance to make his mark on this Sharks team. DeBoer led the Devils to the Stanley Cup final in 2012, and this Sharks roster can certainly return him to that pinnacle.

1. Defense Must Be Solid

Joel Ward
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1. Defense Must Be Solid

Joel Ward
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The Sharks have a formidable top four on the blueline, but beyond that, there could be some concerns. If former Dallas Star Brenden Dillon can shore up the fifth spot with Marco Mueller, the Sharks could have a solid defensive core that could help the team compete for the Stanley Cup.

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