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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

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 41 38 23 79
J. Thornton 82 11 65 20 76
P. Marleau 82 33 37 0 70
L. Couture 65 23 31 21 54
B. Burns 69 22 26 26 48
T. Wingels 77 16 22 11 38
D. Boyle 75 12 24 -8 36
J. Demers 75 5 29 14 34
T. Hertl 37 15 10 11 25
M. Nieto 66 10 14 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 12 5 2 .932 1.87
A. Niemi 39 17 7 .913 2.39
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