Editor's note: Over the next month, CSNCalifornia.com Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz and Postgame Live reporter Brodie Brazil will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.
Sharks spotlight -- the seriesSharks spotlight: Andrew DesjardinsAge: 25 CIn his first full season in the NHL, forward AndrewDesjardins had four goals and 13 assists for 17 points and 47 penalty minutesin 76 games. Named as the teams Rookie of the Year, Desjardins seventh on theteam in hits (93) and third in faceoff percentage (53.0 percent). He had onegoal and no assists in five playoff games.Kurz says: Desjardins was the surprise hero ofopening night, scoring twice in the 6-3 win over Phoenix. Although it took himuntil late March to double that total, Desjardins effectiveness shouldnt besolely judged on point production. The 25-year-old was among the teams mostpleasant surprises this season, and brought good energy to the teams fourthline on most nights.
Desjardins was a healthy scratch for a three-game stretch atthe beginning of March, but he took the benching like a professional and workedhard to get back into the lineup. When he was reinserted on March 8, he kepthis place for the remainder of the season and through the playoffs, scoring akey third period goal in the Sharks only postseason victory in Game 1 againstthe Blues.SLIDESHOW: Grading the Sharks
Brodie says: Desjardins started at center on the 4thline both in the very first and very last games of the season. In the time between, both his wingers changedmultiple times. But the point is he wasa mainstay, as a direct reward from the coaching staff, for his consistent,durable and responsible play.Evaluating Desjardins by point totals alone would not resultin a fair assessment of his contributions.The centerman was not expected to, or put in a position to light thelamp on a regular basis instead the goal was to frustrate opponents and wearthem down by sustaining offensive zone time and pressure. Evidence of that is a 4th lineplayer, who scored only 4 goals himself, and ended up as a 4 on the regularseason.2012-13 expectationsKurz says: Id expect Desjardins to keep his place in themiddle of the fourth line next season. Hes still a young and improving player,and could see an increased role next year. Desjardins was used on the penaltykill at times, and its possible the team will try and get him regularshorthanded shifts next season as the Sharks are expected to employ a much moreaggressive approach.
As far as points and goals go, Desjardins should be able toeclipse last seasons total if he remains healthy.RELATED: Andrew Desjardins stats splits game logs
Brodie says: Desjardins gives me the impression that hesalways watching, always learning. Greatquality for any young person in their career, let alone an athlete or a hockeyplayer. Its not to suggest that otheryoung Sharks teammates arent soaking things in just that Andrew regularlyappeared to be absorbing and observing in his first full season at the NHLlevel. This should suit him tremendouslyin the longer term of several years, and in the shorter term of nextseason.
One of two growth areas are most likely for Desjardins thisseason; he will either see more responsibilities in the sense of the team, orhe will become even more widely recognized with success in his currentrole. Either would be nice steps, andbetter than the alternative of some players who naturally hit rough patches inthe sophomore campaign. With that said: itwould be hard to see that coming for Andrew, a player who takes a lot of prideand attention to detail in his game.
Up next: Benn Ferriero