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Brazil: The Sharks' dilemma on defense

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Brazil: The Sharks' dilemma on defense

Sept. 12, 2011

SHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEO Follow @BrodieBrazilCSNBrodie BrazilCSNCalifornia.com

Just how good a job did Sharks GM Doug Wilson do bolstering up his defensive corps this summer? San Jose now has more eligible defensemen than the team can or likely will dress on an every-night basis. Here's how the depth shakes out on the roster:

PLAYER HEIGHTWEIGHT AGE SHOOTS 22 Dan Boyle 5'11", 190lbs 35 Right 61 Justin Braun 6'2", 205lbs 24 right 88 Brent Burns 6'5", 219lbs 26 Right 60 Jason Demers 6'1", 195lbs 23 Right 3 Douglas Murray 6'3", 240lbs 31 Left 2 Jim Vandermeer 6'1", 210lbs 31 Left 44 Marc-Edourard Vlasic 6'1", 200lbs 24 Left 5 Colin White 6'4", 215lbs 33 LeftAnd here's how many predict the pairings will look:Boyle Murray - The perfect example of 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'. These two have been virtually inseparable partners for the last couple seasons as San Jose's top pair, in terms of ice time and matchups. The offensively enabled Boyle, matched with the defensive minded Murray also offer the variety of one left, and one right handed shot. Camp will sort itself out, but change is not expected with these two.Vlasic Burns - If BoyleMurray are 1, then this pair is likely to be 1A. The newly acquired Burns is everybody's early pick to be paired with Vlasic, for a multitude of reasons.
First: Burns is of similar offensive tendency to Boyle, in jumping into plays and joining the rush. Whereas Vlasic is more likely to stay-at-home, playing a responsible defensive game. This is a nice mix of yin and yang for the new teammates.
Second: You have natural right-and-left defensemen, as the two each shoot from different sides.
Third: Each of these players is tied to multiple year contracts with the Sharks... meaning they have the potential to become long-term partners, which may be a good reason to test their chemistry together, as soon as possible.But here's where it gets dicey... since San Jose isn't likely to dress 7 defensemen on a regular basis, we are left with 4 more quality NHL players... and only 2 positions to be filled in the starting lineup each night.Jason Demers is likely to be a top candidate on the 3rd pair. He had a solid last season, and was truly (and noticeably) missed in the entire Vancouver series after suffering a high ankle sprain against Detroit. Last year, Demers averaged 19:29 per game (9th highest of all skaters), including an average of 2:11 on the Power Play. Colin White would be a good partner for Demers, for all the same reasons we like the previously mentioned pairs... OffensiveDefensive, RightyLefty. He poses intimidating size and strength, which the Sharks have recently needed more of on the blue line. He is also a highly touted and respected veteran who could provide solid mentorship to the up and coming Demers.But it's hard to exclude Jim Vandermeer, a reliable and gritty veteran who in 62 games last year tallied 122 hits and 78 blocked shots with Edmonton. Not to forget super sophomore Justin Braun either, who played in 28 games last year, is a prized right-handed shot, and showed tremendous upside in terms of his NHL potential. Coming into last season, either of these players would have been considered shoe-ins to San Jose's roster, with their current credentials. A good indication of just how thick the competition is this time around.This is the dilemma, but a great one to have for Wilson, and Head Coach Todd McLellan. Too many options will likely prove to be a considerable benefit, when you consider injuries, slumps, and the ruts a team is bound to endure over the course of an 82 game regular season.Follow Brodie in real time on Twitter: @BrodieBrazilCSN

Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’

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AP

Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’

SAN JOSE — There was something familiar missing in San Jose when the Sharks opened training camp.

For the first time since 1996, the Sharks took the ice for their first training camp practice without Patrick Marleau on the team as the franchise's career leader in games and scoring left as a free agent for Toronto this summer.

"I've spent a lot of years with him. It is kind of strange," said Joe Thornton, who came to San Jose in 2005. "It's his birthday today too. It's a little weird, but he's going to do great up in Toronto."

Marleau had been with San Jose since being picked second overall in 1997 but left the Sharks to sign an $18.75 million, three-year deal with the Maple Leafs in July.

Marleau has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points. He had 46 points in playing all 82 games last season as he rebounded from a disappointing 2015-16 season by scoring 27 goals, including the 500th of his career. He ranks first in San Jose in career goals, games and points.

Only six players in NHL history have played more games with one team than Marleau's 1,493 in San Jose. The Sharks haven't played a game without him on the ice since April 7, 2009.

"Obviously Patty has meant so much to this organization and this group," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Everyone in this room has pretty much played with him and Patty has done something to help them out. He'll be missed. ... Just by committee somebody will step in and fill that kind of hole. That's what we'll need."

The Sharks made no major additions this offseason so will need to replace Marleau's 27 goals by getting development from younger players like Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Danny O'Regan, as well as bounce-back seasons from veterans like Thornton, Mikkel Boedker and Joonas Donskoi.

Only Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns are back after scoring more than 12 goals last season.

"When I look back at last year we had key people either have down years or miss significant time with injuries or coming off injuries," coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think if we can stay healthy I think we've got a large group of guys that can really take a step this year and I expect a step out of them."

While the Sharks lost Marleau in free agency, they did manage to keep Thornton by giving him a one-year, $8 million contract despite dwindling production last season and offseason knee surgery.

He scored just seven goals — his fewest in an 82-game season since his rookie year in 1997-98 — and was a key part of a power-play unit that uncharacteristically struggled last season. But he still managed 43 assists, teaming with captain Joe Pavelski on San Jose's top line.

Thornton missed the final week of the regular season and the first two playoff games with a left knee injury before returning for the final four games of a first-round loss to Edmonton. Thornton then underwent surgery to repair his MCL and ACL after the season but was back skating in August and started ramping it up for training camp two weeks ago. Thornton believes the lower-body work he did in rehab this offseason will pay dividends on the ice.

"They feel real strong," he said of his legs. "I feel a lot of pop out there. They're probably as strong as they've ever been just because I had to rehab that knee so much."

Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks

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Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks

The boys were back together in San Jose on Thursday for Sharks Media Day, with plenty of smiles and moments of levity. Check out the highlights...

Hey Jumbo, you dropped something. 👖🤷‍♂️

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Martin Jones is pretty good at photobombs 📸💣

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🤳 Media Day #SJSharks

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New season. New commercials. 🕉🚌📺 #ComingSoon #SharksForLife

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