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).

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Editor's Note: The above video is from March 2, 2017

One of the Sharks’ young forwards expected to challenge for a full time roster spot this season has been re-signed.

Marcus Sorensen, who started the year in the AHL before working his way up to the Sharks, signed a two-year contract extension the team announced on Tuesday. A source told NBC Sports California that the deal is worth $700,000 at the NHL level for each of the next two seasons.

In 19 regular season games with the Sharks, Sorensen, 25, posted one goal and three assists. He appeared in all six playoff games against Edmonton, posting one goal and one assist.

In 43 games with the AHL Barracuda, Sorensen had 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points.

"The time he spent with the Sharks this season, and the positive impact he had, proved that he can be an effective player at the highest level,” assistant general manager Joe Will said in a statement.

Sorensen originally signed with the Sharks as a free agent on May 13, 2016. He was originally drafted by Ottawa in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, but spent six seasons playing in Sweden before joining San Jose.

Sorensen was a restriced free agent. The Sharks have just one RFA left to sign in forward Barclay Goodrow.

https://twitter.com/sorensenmarcus/status/887412566447628288

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Now that the dust has settled on the draft and free agency, here’s a meaty offseason Sharks mailbag before my vacation…

Who will replace Patty's leadership? (philip malan‏ @pmalan1979)

Patrick Marleau was a good example for other players in that he always came to camp in great shape and took care of himself between games, allowing him to be very productive into his later years. 

But let’s not overblow it. From what I understand, Marleau preferred to avoid confrontation, and was never the guy in the dressing room challenging other players to step up. That was left more to guys like Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, with Logan Couture growing into that role in recent years, too. When it comes to veteran leadership there are other guys still in the dressing room of more value than Marleau. His leaving town shouldn’t change the dynamic.

Will Thornton be bumped from the top line center role? Who do you think will replace Marleau on the PP? (Elle‏ @LikeShiningOil)

The whole “top line” designation is something that us writers and broadcasters like to use, and I’m going to keep using it for Thornton so long as he and Pavelski are on the same line. That said, there will be plenty of games where the Couture line gets more even-strength ice time than the Thornton line. I guess my point here is don’t read too much into the labels. I don’t expect Thornton’s ice time to go down from what it was last season. He’s averaged 18 minutes and change in each of the past five seasons, and probably will again.

As for replacing Marleau on the power play, I would tab Tomas Hertl as the frontrunner, but I’m sure the Sharks will try a number of different looks there in training camp. After finishing 25th in the NHL last season they pretty much have to, right?

How will the lines roll this season, if you were to prognosticate now? (Erik Kuhre @Puckguy14)

It seems like we say this every year, but it depends on where the Sharks see Hertl slotting in. Last season Hertl started out on the wing of the top line after offseason knee surgery before moving to center fairly quickly. I know he battled through yet another knee injury during the season, but Hertl’s 22 points in 49 games was a disappointing total.

If the season were starting today, I’d put Hertl on the wing of the Thornton line again with, of course, Pavelski on the other side. Here’s what I’ve got in that scenario:

Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Jannik Hansen – Chris Tierney – Mikkel Boedker
Melker Karlsson – Ryan Carpenter – Joel Ward

Extras: Marcus Sorensen, Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow

(One guy who is really going to have to fight to keep his spot is Ward. I could see him getting pushed out, but for now I’m leaving him in).

Will there be a tough guy in the lineup to protect the kids? (Jim Kelley)

The Sharks signed free agent Brandon Bollig a couple weeks ago to replace Micheal Haley, but I don’t seem him as a regular in the NHL lineup. Bollig could be a guy they recall if they think it’s necessary to dress a pugilist, like when Pete DeBoer brought up Haley late in the 2015-16 season for the sole reason of fighting Darnell Nurse, who had jumped Sharks defenseman Roman Polak just two weeks earlier for no real reason.

Do you think Chris Tierney is capable of more point production at this point in his career? (Ian Stephenson)

Count me among those that thought Tierney was ready to have a better season last year after his strong performance in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Still, he’s just 23 years old, and his line in the series against Edmonton with Meier and Sorensen was a very effective one for long stretches of play. This is a huge year for Tierney, who had to settle for the Sharks’ one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer. Perform, and he’ll get paid. Struggle, and he could be on the move.

Do you think the Sharks will trade either Grosenick or Dell? Doesn't seem Grosenick has much more to prove in AHL. (Chris Greni)

No, they’ll hold on to all three for the time being. Getting Troy Grosenick re-signed to a one-year deal was a nice move on the Sharks’ part, considering Aaron Dell still has just 20 games of NHL experience. Perhaps if they both continue to play well the Sharks could dangle one as trade bait later in the year, but it wouldn’t make sense at this point. 

Any thoughts on DW using the offer sheet to bring in scoring help? There’s several serviceable RFAs out there still waiting for contracts. (Tony Martinico)

Keep in mind that some of those high end RFAs, like Colton Parayko, Nino Niederreiter and Tomas Tatar are currently headed for arbitration, which takes the offer sheet off the table.

Purely speculation here, but I have to wonder if the Sharks have at least kicked around trying to ink Leon Draisaitl to an offer sheet. You have to think Berlin native Hasso Plattner would love to add the “German Gretzky” to the roster. I know we're settling into the part of the NHL offseason where typically nothing happens, but it was July 19 when the Flyers signed Shea Weber to a monster offer sheet five years ago.

And, of course, Doug Wilson has used the power of the offer sheet in the past, signing Niklas Hjalmarsson in 2010 and then using the threat of an offer sheet with Boston to acquire Martin Jones.

Which Cuda player, aside from Meier, Labanc and Sorensen, would you expect to be a dark horse and could make the big team out of camp? (olin @sleepymofo)

Keep in mind that the sixth and defensemen spots are open, too. I would presume that Dylan DeMelo is the frontrunner to replace David Schlemko, but Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan are coming off of strong seasons in the AHL. Perhaps one of them overtakes DeMelo in training camp.

As for other forwards than those you mentioned, Goodrow could end challenging for a spot on the fourth line. I get plenty of questions about Danny O’Regan, too, and perhaps he makes a push. The issue with O’Regan is that although he’s a skilled player in the minors, he’s probably not quite skilled enough to make up for his small frame at the NHL level. I view him more as a fill-in guy.

Any word on [Barclay] Goodrow and [Marcus] Sorenson? I'm assuming they didn't sign their QO's? (DaveBPilot‏ @DaveBPilot)

Yes, that’s safe to assume, since the deadline was Saturday. They remain RFAs, and negotiations will surely continue.

Still, it’s worth mentioning what happened last year with Matt Nieto. The forward didn’t sign his qualifying offer, as he was pushing for a multi-year deal, and ended up signing for one year for less than he would have made had he accepted the original offer. He was waived and claimed by Colorado.