Sharks -- Midseason Report Part 2

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Sharks -- Midseason Report Part 2

Everyone's eyes are still on Ottawa, but we have part 2 of our Sharks midseason recap here for you. We shift our attention to the attacking side with contributions made in the first half of the season and what can be expected moving forward.
Ryane Clowe Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: Clowes 26 points are lower than he and the coaching staff would probably like, but the Sharks recent offensive woes can probably be traced somewhat to Clowes injury. In the last five games, the Sharks have just seven goals, and Logan Couture plays his best hockey when Clowe is on his wing. Even Marleau seemed to thrive with Clowe during a brief stretch in November when Marleau was centering the second line.
Second half outlook: The Sharks have to hope that Clowes injury wont keep him out much longer after the All Star break, or the team could continue to struggle on the scoreboard in the short-term.

Logan Couture Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: No sophomore slump here, as Couture is the Sharks most natural goal-scorer, and fits in with the teams other star players, according to Todd McLellan. Hes the clubs lone All-Star, plays in both ends of the ice, kills penalties, and continues to emerge as one of the leagues top young talents.
Second half outlook: Couture has an outside chance to crack the 40-goal mark this year if he gets hot, and the Sharks will continue to lean on him to put the puck at the net. Hes shown he can handle that extra pressure that wasnt necessarily on his shoulders last season when he took the league by storm.

RELATED: Sharks -- midseason statistical analysis
Andrew Desjardins Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: One of the bigger success stories this season. Desjardins has been steadily improving since scoring twice on opening night against Phoenix, and has seen his ice time increase because of it. His consistency and responsibility are also big reasons that San Joses fourth line has outplayed the opponents fourth line on most nights.
Second half outlook: Desjardins has been getting time on the penalty kill and filling in on the teams top line while it deals with injuries. Its good experience for the 25-year-old, who will go back to his regular place centering the fourth line when the team gets healthy.

Benn Ferriero Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: Ferriero hasnt been lighting up the scoreboard while skating on the second line, but you have to give him credit hes scored some big goals, including the game-winner in Boston in October and the only marker against Calgary on Tuesday. Still, hes not noticeable enough on a game-in game-out basis to say hes going to be a regular in the lineup when Ryane Clowe and Marty Havlat return.
Second half outlook: Ferriero isnt exempt from waivers anymore, so when the Sharks get healthy up front it will be interesting to see what happens with him. He doesnt fit on the third or fourth lines.

Michal Handzus Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: Off of the ice, players like Jamie McGinn and coach Todd McLellan have spoken of Handzus professionalism and work-ethic. Still, Handzus has just three goals and was brought in specifically to help the penalty kill, which despite recent improvement, is just 27th in the NHL at the All-Star break.
Second half outlook: Handzus five-on-five ice time has been dwindling, another reason the Sharks may need to upgrade at forward. In fact, in Calgary on Tuesday, Handzus was taking shifts on the fourth line a strong sign that the coaching staff wants more from the former Los Angeles King.

Martin Havlat Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: Havlats injury only exacerbated his poor start in a Sharks uniform. He missed training camp and the first four games of the season and had five assists in his first four games, but from there, was unnoticeable on the ice too often. He has shown flashes of the speed and skill that everyone knows he has, and has even been the best player on the ice for a couple games, but its been a disappointing season for Havlat.
Second half outlook: The Sharks are planning on getting Havlat back in plenty of time for the stretch run, which probably means early March. For a team that already lacks depth up front, hes going to have to produce more than he did before he got hurt.

Patrick Marleau Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: Streaky. Marleau was among the Sharks best forwards during its 10-1-2 run in December and January. Now, he takes a six-game scoreless streak into the All-Star break. Still, hes the Sharks second leading scorer, and its easy to overlook the fact he has as many points (36) as Logan Couture.
Second half outlook: Although he had some productive games centering the second line in November, including a hat trick in Colorado on Nov. 20, Marleau will still see most of his time on the wing with either Thornton or Couture in the middle. Hell have his share of dominant games and his share of unproductive ones, too.

Jamie McGinn Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: McGinn has shown a marked improvement from last season, and is one of the few forwards on the team with the ability to deliver a big-time hit. His best hockey is when hes on the third line, usually with Torrey Mitchell and Michal Handzus, and has struggled when Todd McLellan tries putting him anywhere else.
Second half outlook: Even with the Sharks down two of their top six forwards, McGinn is locked in on that third line. Expecting him to put another nine goals in the net in the second half of the season may be a little optimistic.

Torrey Mitchell Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: Its a big year for Mitchell as he prepares to under unrestricted free agency at the end of the year. You would think that would have given him a greater sense of urgency, but it appears it took him getting scratched on Jan. 5 to light a fire underneath him. Since then, hes been playing his best hockey of the year and has been much more consistent.
Second half outlook: Expect Mitchells name to come up around the trade deadline, if not sooner, if the Sharks are serious about upgrading at the wing. If not, Mitchell needs to display the same energy he did in the two and a half weeks leading up to the All-Star break in order to be effective.

Andrew Murray Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: The fourth line journeyman has shown good speed at times, and brings good energy to the fourth line when hes skating. Hes probably just what the Sharks expected when he joined the team in the offseason nothing more, nothing less.
Second half outlook: Murray was in and out of the lineup in the weeks leading up the break, as players like Andrew Desjardins and Brad Winchester are more effective on a nightly basis than is Murray.

Joe Pavelski Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: Pavelski got off to a flying start and found himself among the league leaders in goals through October. He has just five markers in the last 23 games, though, and has probably not been as consistent over the last two months as the coaching staff would like since he was promoted to the Joe Thornton line this offseason.
Second half outlook: Pavelski has a knack for creating scoring chances when hes on his game, and is small and spunky enough that he can find some goals in front of the net when he has the desire to get there. He just has to do it on a nightly basis.

Joe Thornton Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: When questioned recently about his lack of production on the power play this season, a place hes thrived in his career, Thornton pointed out that 5-on-5 the Sharks have been outstanding. Thats true and Thorntons 13 is a reflection that hes been pretty good when it comes to defense. Still, the captain has been invisible more often than in recent years, has struggled with giveaways, and if the power play is going to improve its going to have to be Thornton leading the way.
Second half outlook: Thornton assisted on a pair of Sharks power play goals in Vancouver and Edmonton just before the break, which is a good sign that unit will improve in the second half. It has to, if the Sharks are going to be serious contenders.
Brad Winchester Stats Splits Game Logs
Season so far: Winchester made a few new fans in the stands and with his teammates, as well, when he fought Dane Byers after Byers illegally hit Andrew Desjardins in Columbus. Hes got a wicked shot when he gets open, will drop the gloves, and has been a key component on the fourth line.
Second half outlook: Winchester is nothing more than a fourth line player, but that line has been effective most of the year. Dont be surprised to see Winchester sign an extension with the team at some point before the regular season ends (hes set to be an unrestricted free agent).

Sharks' Vlasic joins Canada for World Championships

Sharks' Vlasic joins Canada for World Championships

Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic will compete in the upcoming IIHF World Championships for Team Canada, it was announced on Friday.

The tournament runs from May 5-21 in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany. 

Vlasic, 30, a native of Montreal, has played in the tournament twice before in 2009 and 2012. He also represented Canada in the 2014 Olympic Games, helping it to a gold medal, and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which Canada also captured.

In 75 games with the Sharks this season, Vlasic posted 28 points (6g, 22a) and a +4 rating. He was second on the team in shorthanded time on ice (2:04 per game) and blocked shots (146).

A pending restricted free agent in 2018, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson called getting Vlasic signed to a long-term deal an offseason priority for the club. The two sides can begin negotiations on July 1.

“Vlasic [is] arguably one of the best defensemen in the league,” Wilson said. “[He] is still one of the most underrated players in the league in the outside world.”

The Sharks lost in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs to Edmonton, although Vlasic and partner Justin Braun helped to keep Connor McDavid in check at even strength. The league's leading scorer had just one even strength point in the six-game series, an empty net goal with less than one second left in Game 6.

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

SAN JOSE – The Sharks didn’t make any blockbuster moves last summer, content to make another run in 2016-17 with largely the same group that came within two wins of capturing the Stanley Cup.

They still acquired a notable player, though, when Mikkel Boedker was signed on July 1 to add an element that the Sharks knew they needed more of moving forward – speed. Boedker was expected to make the team faster, after the Sharks were exposed for not having enough of that against Pittsburgh in the NHL’s final round, as well as play in a top six role. 

At the time, it was hailed as a slick, under-the-radar move that wasn’t going to change the dynamic of the club but could help push it over the top.

When Boedker was a healthy scratch in games three and four of the first round against Edmonton, the evidence became clear, though, that this was a decision that fell flat on its face. 

Frankly, Boedker – who is signed for three more years with a $4 million salary cap hit – brings back visions of Sharks bust Marty Havlat. You know the skill is there, but the desire to use it on a nightly basis while showing any semblance of a battle level is lacking. 

Should the Sharks give Boedker another chance next season, or should they do everything in their power to try and move him? That’s a question that will likely be debated in the front office over the next several weeks.

On get-away day on Monday, indications were that the Sharks were planning on sticking with the 27-year-old, who finished with 26 points in the regular season (10g, 16a) and added one goal and one assist in four games in the playoffs.

“He has the things we’re looking for: his career scoring average, his speed, [penalty killing] ability,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “Did he meet the expectations that he had for himself [or] that we had for him? No. Can we get that out of him? Pete [DeBoer] believes we can.”

DeBoer has known Boedker since he played for him in 2007-08 in Kitchener (OHL). Despite scratching him in the playoffs, DeBoer said he saw “huge improvement” in Boedker throughout the course of the season after the forward spent nearly all of his NHL career in Arizona.

“There was an adjustment. He’s played 6-7 years a certain way in the NHL,” DeBoer said. “We’ve asked him to play differently here, and there was an adjustment.”

Boedker still believes that he can be a fit in San Jose.

“I think it will be and it can be,” he said. “It’s learning period, but you’ve also got to look in the mirror yourself and see what you can change and what assets you need to bring. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m ready to do that.”

The list of Sharks depth forwads that had frustrating seasons hardly begins and ends with Boedker, though.

Veteran Joel Ward’s production dipped from 43 points last season to 29 in 2016-17, although that probably isn’t too surprising considering he’s 36. Tomas Hertl is proving to be a streaky player, too, although his season was interrupted by another a knee injury.

The bigger disappointment came from players like Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi, who both made big impressions in the 2016 playoffs but struggled to produce consistent offense this year. Both were mentioned by name by DeBoer on Monday.

There are some promising youngsters in the pipeline like Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Marcus Sorensen, but it’s still too early to project any of them as can’t-miss scorers at the NHL level.

“I think we’ve got a large group of guys that I like, but need to step up,” DeBoer said. “Is Sorensen [like] Donskoi next year, where he takes a step back, or [does he take a] step forward? We’ve got a lot of guys that there’s a lot of potential there – Chris Tierney. 

“There’s a lot of those guys, but they need to have big summers and take a step, and show that they’re not just one season or one month players.”