The San Jose Sharks have looked good in the early part of the season. They are tied with the Los Angeles Kings at the top of the Pacific Division, showing promise after a disappointing 2014-15 campaign.
The Sharks aren’t being led by the usual suspects. Joe Thornton does not have ten assists already. Neither Patrick Marleau nor Joe Pavelski is leading the team in goals. Logan Couture is out four to six weeks with a fractured ankle. Even their young budding superstars Tomas Hertl and Tommy Wingels have had average starts.
The pickups in the offseason have carried the Sharks in their first eight games. The best player on the team right now is Joel Ward. He already has eight points to lead the roster. In his most recent game, Ward scored a hat trick against the Carolina Hurricanes. He has scored on an insane 35 percent of his shots, which gives the rest of his talented teammates plenty of opportunities to score themselves.
One pickup that is falling under the radar is Paul Martin, but he brings a certain sense of comfort on the defensive side. He has not provided much offensively, which the Sharks could surely use on the power-play. Martin offers more than just a shot to a blue line, having yet to have a game where he has a negative plus/minus.
In arguably the biggest move of the offseason for the Sharks, they finally solidified who is their starting goalie. Martin Jones was traded twice this offseason, but is settling in San Jose. He has been one of the best goalies in the league. His .940 save percentage is good for fifth in the league and his 1.69 goals against average is good for fourth. If he continues to play at this level, the Sharks will return to the playoffs. It is that simple.
They are playing great under new coach Peter DeBoer. He has always been a great first year coach. As the head of the New Jersey Devils, he brought them to the Stanley Cup Final in his first year with the team. He hopes to take this team even further this season.
The rest of the Sharks stars will grow chemistry with their new teammates, which in turn with turn into a higher point total. If the team comes together like they can, they could be one of the favorites in the Western Conference. This team is as talented as any in the West. It is very early, and they could deal with another major injury, but they are going in the right direction.