Sharks still lack secondary scoring


Sharks still lack secondary scoring

Considering the NHL owners first CBA proposal and the marked lack of activity in the trade market this offeseason, its not a stretch to suggest that the Sharks roster, as it stands now, might be fairly close to how it looks at the beginning of the regular season.

Whenever that is, of course.

It also means that San Jose hasnt done much to fix what was one of its gaping holes last season, and that is the lack of secondary scoring, and production from the third and fourth lines.

While the Sharks still boast an impressive and productive top-six in Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Ryane Clowe and Marty Havlat, the offensive output of the rest of the forward group under contract drops off dramatically after that.

In fact, when you combine the scoring of what would probably be the bottom six forwards at this point (Andrew Desjardins, Michal Handzus, Adam Burish, Tommy Wingels, James Sheppard and John McCarthy or Tim Kennedy), you get a total of 21 goals scored last season in 278 games.

Thats one goal every 13.2 games, and doesnt even include Sheppard, who hasnt skated in an NHL game since the 2009-10 season.

To be fair, Desjardins and Wingels are perceived as improving young players in the organization and will be counted on to increase their numbers from last season. Wingels played just 33 games, but showed flashes of becoming a consistent scorer and contributor when he was in the lineup for the final two months of the season and the playoffs. Its not a stretch to think he could get between 15-20 goals next season should he remain healthy something he had trouble with when in the lineup.

On the other hand, Handzus, 35, who had seven goals and 17 assists in 67 games last season, will be a year older and a year slower after a disappointing season for the veteran center in his first year as a Shark. The pace of the NHL game may have passed him by.

It also seems more and more unlikely that the Sharks will land one of the big three remaining names in the free agenttrade market. Rick Nashs 7.8 million salary cap hit for the next six years looks even worse when you consider that the owners want to dramatically roll back the cap. The ownership situation in Phoenix could finally be clearing up, and if it does, its likely Shane Doan will return to the place hes called home for so many years. And Alex Semin, the best free agent still available, probably wouldnt be a good fit with the Sharks, who are looking to re-energize and add some personality to their locker room with players like Burish.

San Jose will still likely add at least one more forward, but the unrestricted free agent market after Semin is bone dry. The Sharks chose to watch from the sidelines while depth, scoring forwards that could have immediately helped them were plucked one-by-one by other clubs. No one expected the Sharks would land a Zach Parise-type, but there were several players that were free to sign anywhere that could have aided the Sharks top-heavy offense.

Whether or not San Jose came close to signing another scorer is uncertain, but at it stands right now, theyve only added Burish and lost Torrey Mitchell to Minnesota. Daniel Winnik, Brad Winchester and Dominic Moore remain free agents.

In short, there is still plenty of work to be done. And the summer isnt getting any longer.

Instant Replay: Donskoi, Hertl lift Sharks over Jackets

Instant Replay: Donskoi, Hertl lift Sharks over Jackets


SAN JOSE – Three combined goals from Joonas Donskoi and Tomas Hertl, coupled with 24 saves from Martin Jones, pushed the Sharks to a 3-1 win over Columbus on Thursday at SAP Center.

Both of the Sharks’ goals before a late empty netter came from the second power play unit.

In the first period, David Schlemko found Joonas Donskoi wide open in the circle with a cross-ice pass, and Donskoi squeezed a wrist shot through Sergei Bobrovsky at 12:59. The goal was Donskoi’s first of the season.

Hertl increased it to 2-0 with 7:55 to go in regulation, with Jack Johnson in the box for tripping Patrick Marleau. A Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot hit Hertl in front of the net, and Hertl spun around and swept the loose puck through for what stood as the game-winner.

Schlemko assisted on both goals for his first two points in a Sharks sweater.

Scott Hartnell brought the Blue Jackets back to within 2-1 with 2:50 to go, when he redirected a Lukas Sedlak rebound over the line, but that was as close as the Blue Jackets would get. Hertl’s empty net goal with one second left capped the scoring.

The Sharks (5-3-0) improved to a perfect 3-0 at home, and swept the two-game season series with Columbus, including a 3-2 win at Nationwide Arena on Oct. 15.

Bobrovsky kept it 1-0 deficit for his club in the second period. He denied Joel Ward on a breakaway in the first minute of the middle frame after Justin Braun found him wide open at the blue line, and later robbed Brent Burns cutting towards the net when Chris Tierney’s pass through the slot gave the Sharks defenseman a glorious scoring chance with 12:16 to go.

Columbus’ best chance to tie it came with about six minutes left, when Hartnell missed a tap in after Burns gave it away to Sam Gagner in the defensive zone.

The Sharks seemingly increased their lead to 2-0 a little more than six minutes into the third period when Brenden Dillon’s heavy blast from high in the zone found its way in through traffic. A lengthy review showed that Chris Tierney was offside just before Marleau brought the puck over the blue line, however.

With the Sharks up 1-0, the teams went to their dressing rooms with 2:42 remaining in the second period after the lights illuminating the ice surface went dark. Power was restored, and they played the end of the second and the third period after the early intermission.

San Jose is 21-4-2 all-time against the Blue Jackets in San Jose.

Special teams

For the second straight game, the Sharks failed to score an even strength goal into a manned net in regulation, but won anyway. They were a perfect 2-for-2 on the power play.

Columbus was 0-for-3 on the power play. San Jose is 18-for-19 on the PK over its last five games.

In goal

Jones was making his fourth straight start, and has played in seven of the first eight games. He is 4-3 on the season, and 2-2 in his career against Columbus.

Bobrovsky dropped to 5-4-2 in his career against San Jose. The former Vezina Trophy winner has played every game for the Blue Jackets.


Micheal Haley skated in his second straight game in place of Matt Nieto, who was again a healthy scratch.

Up next

The Sharks close out their homestand with Nashville on Saturday. It will be the first meeting since San Jose eliminated the Predators in seven games in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last May.

NHL Gameday: Sharks expect better Blue Jackets this time

NHL Gameday: Sharks expect better Blue Jackets this time

Programming note: Sharks-Blue Jackets coverage starts tonight at 7pm with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California. Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz will appear on SportsTalk Live on CSN Bay Area, beginning at 5pm.


Sharks: 4-3-0, 8 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Blue Jackets: 2-2-1, 5 points, 7th Metropolitan Division


***Less than two weeks after their meeting in Columbus, a 3-2 Sharks win, the Blue Jackets visit San Jose to wrap up the season series. San Jose is coming off of a 2-1 overtime win on Tuesday against Anaheim in the first of a three-game homestand.

Columbus is 2-0-1 since losing to the Sharks, beating Chicago and Dallas and losing on Tuesday in overtime in Los Angeles.

Joe Pavelski said: “They are one of those teams that you know you’re going to get an honest game from them, and they’re going to play hard and try to come at you.”

***The Sharks led 2-0 after two periods in the previous meeting with Columbus before withstanding a push from the Blue Jackets in the third. 

Pete DeBoer said: “They didn’t lie down. They didn’t quit. They took it to us in the third period and put us on our heels, and I think they carried that into winning their last three games. 

“I’m sure we’re going to get their best game here tonight, and just watching their recent tape, they look like they’re playing with some confidence.”

***Martin Jones will start his fourth straight game in net, while Micheal Haley will remain in for Matt Nieto on the fourth line.

The fourth line generated some quality scoring chances against the Ducks, and took three shifts in the third period of what was a 1-1 game. Tommy Wingels, who moved to the wing from center before the game, said the approach doesn’t change whether it’s Haley or Nieto in their group, which now features Chris Tierney in the middle.

“Is it a different guy doing it, maybe more possession and not as much speed? Absolutely, but same mentality, same game plan, and same look to execute,” Wingels said.

DeBoer said: “I don’t judge those guys by goals or points. It’s, are they hopping over the boards? Are they creating energy? Are they wearing down the other team? I think that line did that all night.”


Sharks: Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The defenseman scored a highlight-reel goal in overtime on Tuesday against the Ducks, flying past Corey Perry and beating goalie John Gibson. It was the first goal by a Sharks defenseman not scored by Brent Burns. Vlasic, who is coming off of his best offensive season a year ago with 48 points, has two points this season (1g, 1a) and an even rating.

Blue Jackets: Zach Werenski. The eighth overall pick of the 2015 draft (just before the Sharks chose Timo Meier), Werenski has five points in five games (2g, 3a) to start his NHL career. The 19-year-old is the first rookie in Blue Jackets history to have points in his first four career games, including a goal against the Sharks on Oct. 12.


Mikkel Boedker – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Patrick Marleau – Tomas Hertl – Melker Karlsson
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Tommy Wingels

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (confirmed starter)
Aaron Dell

Blue Jackets
Brandon Saad - Alexander Wennberg - Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert - William Karlsson - Josh Anderson
Scott Hartnell - Lukas Sedlak - Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski – Seth Jones
Jack Johnson – David Savard
Dalton Prout – Markus Nutivaara

Sergei Bobrovsky (confirmed starter)
Curtis McElhinney


Sharks: None.

Blue Jackets: Ryan Murray (upper body) is out.


“We were great. Just look at the chances. We controlled a lot of the play, other than the 5-on-3 [where] they had a few chances. There really wasn't much other than that." – Martin Jones, after the Sharks’ 2-1 overtime win over Anaheim on Tuesday