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30 in 30: Sharks Have Lineup Hole Without Havlat

Tuesday, 08.06.2013 / 12:39 PM / News
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30 in 30: Sharks Have Lineup Hole Without Havlat
NHL.com projects the San Jose Sharks\' lineup entering the 2013-14 season as part of its 30 in 30 series throughout the month of August.

For many NHL teams, sweeping a division winner in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and taking the defending champion to a seventh game in the second round would be an unquestioned accomplishment. For the San Jose Sharks, who have been searching for an elusive trip the Stanley Cup Final, it was another season with a successful regular season but a too-early postseason exit.

The Sharks have reached the conference final three times in the past nine seasons; only the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers can make that claim. But each of those teams has reached the Cup Final, and all except the Flyers have won a championship.

San Jose was not far off in 2012-13, pushing the Los Angeles Kings to the limit. Given the collective health of the two clubs, the Sharks may have given the Blackhawks a tougher challenge in the next round. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson did not have a particularly busy summer beyond locking up core forwards Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski to long-term contracts.

Tyler Kennedy arrived in a draft-day trade from Pittsburgh, and TJ Galliardi was shipped to the Calgary Flames a few days later. Backup goaltender Thomas Greiss signed with the Phoenix Coyotes, but Alex Stalock might be ready for a full-time opportunity at this level.

Offseason surgery could leave Martin Havlat unavailable at the start of the regular season, and it is possible a top-six forward could be atop Wilson's in-season wish list if Havlat cannot return.

Here is the projected 2013-14 lineup for the Sharks:

Forwards

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels

Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns

Raffi Torres - Joe Pavelski - Tyler Kennedy

James Sheppard - Andrew Desjardins - Adam Burish

Bracken Kearns

Defensemen

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Scott Hannan - Brad Stuart

Jason Demers

Goalies

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

NOTES: The Sharks could play Pavelski on one of the top two lines, and almost certainly will at times, especially if Hertl or Wingels isn't able to handle that type of role. Kennedy saw time in Pittsburgh's top six when others were injured and could be an option.

After moving Burns to forward and trading Douglas Murray, the Sharks' defense parings were settled and meshed quite well at the end of the season and in the playoffs. Niemi quietly had a great season and will be looking at 65-plus starts again (his career high was 68 two seasons ago).

2013-14 FANTASY PREVIEW: SHARKS

Antti Niemi - An argument could certainly be made that Niemi was the most valuable fantasy goalie last season, posting career-bests in GAA (2.16) and SV% (.924%). His playoffs were even more spectacular (1.87 GAA, .930%), leading us to believe he's a top-five goalie next season -- with ease.

Patrick Marleau - Was one of the hottest players in the NHL early on last season, but cooled considerably and ended up averaging .65 points-per-game (his lowest since 2007-08). Is age finally catching up to Marleau? We think so. Draft in the sixth round or later -- anything earlier is a mistake.

Brent Burns - The former defenseman should be a mainstay among San Jose's top-six forward group, and that could mean big things for Burns. As a forward, he finished last season strong with nine goals and 11 assists in his final 24 games playing mostly with Joe Thornton. Expect more of the same next season.

Author: Corey Masisak | NHL.com Staff Writer

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 63 41 15 7 191 151 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 62 40 18 4 192 153 84
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 64 32 20 12 179 172 76
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
9 LAK 62 29 21 12 166 162 70
10 SJS 63 30 25 8 175 181 68
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 63 31 26 12 57
L. Couture 63 21 32 0 53
J. Thornton 59 12 40 -2 52
B. Burns 63 16 30 -4 46
P. Marleau 63 14 31 -16 45
T. Wingels 56 13 15 -5 28
T. Hertl 63 10 14 -3 24
J. Braun 52 1 19 2 20
M. Vlasic 58 7 11 10 18
M. Nieto 53 4 13 -10 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 24 17 7 .912 2.62
A. Stalock 5 7 1 .899 2.85
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