Sharks season preview: Quinn takes over team in transition

Sharks season preview: Quinn takes over team in transition

The 2022-23 NHL season begins on October 7. With training camp open, NHL.com is breaking down the three keys, the inside scoop on roster questions and the projected lineup for each of the 32 teams. Today, the San Jose Sharks.

Coach: David Quinn (first season)

Last season: 32-37-13, sixth in Pacific Division; did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs

3 KEYS

1. Quinning time

Quinn gets a second chance to coach in the NHL after the 56-year-old was fired by the New York Rangers on May 12, 2021. He led the United States to fifth place at the 2022 Beijing Olympics and what lies ahead is a transition team that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for three straight seasons after qualifying 14 of the previous 15. The Sharks added forwards Nico Sturm, Lucas Kunin, oskar lindblom Y steven lorentzand defenders matt benning Y Markus Nutivaara. But San Jose needs top-tier prospects William Ecklund Y Thomas Bourdeleau to eventually spark an offense that ranks 30th in the NHL in goals per game the past three seasons (2.58) and tied for 25th in power play (17.1 percent). logan couture (23 goals) was the only striker besides Tim Meier (35) and Thomas Hertl (30) to score at least 20 goals. San Jose averaged 2.57 goals per game last season, third-lowest behind the Arizona Coyotes (2.51) and Philadelphia Flyers (2.56).

2. Meier’s future

Meier has yet to talk to new general manager Mike Grier about a new contract, the forward said during the NHL European Player Media Tour on Aug. 24 that the two have been getting to know each other through phone conversations. Meier is entering the final season of a four-year contract and may become a restricted free agent.

3. Who is number 1?

goalkeepers James Reimer Y Kaapo Kahkönen they are likely to be on the opening night roster. The question is whether a No. 1 emerges or the Sharks walk away with a timeshare. Reimer, 34, went 19-17-10 with a 2.90 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage and one shutout in 48 games (46 starts) last season; Kahkonen, 26, was 2-6-1 with a 2.86 GAA and a .916 save percentage in 11 games (10 starts) after he was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Wild on March 21. Quinn said, “We love our goal depth, but there’s something to be said for the Sharks adding nine goalies to the organization in the last 12 or 13 months.

Video: Timo Meier’s future with the San Jose Sharks

TEMPLATE SUMMARY

making the cut

It’s not about if, but when Eklund, who turns 20 on Oct. 12, and Bordeleau, 20, will take a veteran out of the lineup. They will compete with a host of forwards, including Jasper Weatherbya 24-year-old selected in the fourth round (No. 108) of the 2018 NHL Draft, and Yevgeny Swechnikova 25-year-old who signed a one-year contract on September 6. The Detroit Red Wings’ 19th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft has 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists) in 113 NHL games and not receiving a qualifying offer from the Winnipeg Jets.

The most intriguing addition

Kunin is starting over with the Sharks. The 24-year-old signed a two-year deal on July 18, 10 days after he was traded by the Nashville Predators. He was the only Predators skater to play in 82 games and his 13 goals ranked sixth among their forwards. Wild’s No. 15 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft will play for his third NHL team, but he was playing his best hockey (31 points, 15 goals, 16 assists in 63 games) when the 2019-20 season came to a halt. due to concerns. around the coronavirus. The Sharks are in dire need of deep scoring, and Kunin could provide it if he gets back on track.

Biggest Potential Surprise

Alexander Barabanov looks like a late bloomer. He signed a two-year deal on May 9 to stay with the Sharks after setting NHL career highs of 10 goals, 29 assists and 39 points in 70 games, the 28-year-old’s first full season in the NHL. Since Barabanov was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 21, 2021, he ranks fifth among Sharks skaters in assists (33) and points (46) through 79 games. He is projected for the top line with Meier and Hertl. If he clicks, Barabanov could be an unexpected source of offense with close to 20-plus goals.

ready to break

It looks like it’s time for Eklund to show why he was the No. 7 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and the No. 1 pick in the final NHL Central Scouting International Skater Rankings. He started last season with the Sharks and had four assists in nine games before returning to Djurgardens in the Swedish Hockey League, where he had 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 29 games.

Eklund was the SHL Rookie of the Year in 2020-21, when he scored 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 40 games despite an emergency appendectomy and a positive test for COVID-19.

fantasy sleeper

Eklund, LW (undrafted on average in fantasy) — Three of Eklund’s assists came on the power play before he gained more professional experience in the SHL. He could be a fantasy rookie sleeper if he lands in the top six with a productive center in Hertl and Couture and on the first power play with the elite Meier end and defensive rebounding candidate. erik karlsson and under new coach Quinn. –Pete Jensen

PROJECTED LINE

Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, Alexander Barabanov

Noah Gregory — Logan Haute Couture — kevin labanc

Oskar Lindblom, Nico Sturm, Luke Kunin

matt grandsonNick Bonino –Steven Lorentz

mario ferraro –Erik Karlsson

Marc-Edouard VlasicRadim Shimek

Matt Benning-Markus Nutivaara

James Reimer

Kaapo Kahkönen

Injured: Nikolai Knyzhov (Achilles tendon)

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