A great regular season, but unless they get to the actual Stanley Cup finals, the year will be seen as a disappointment.
Management showed confidence in the team by bringing back all the same players, and now it’s up to the players to show management that they made the right move.
Best offseason move: Signing Antti Niemi. The Sharks were getting no where with Evgeni Nabokov, and he wanted too much money, so the Sharks let him walk (all the way to Russia and the KHL). Niemi has a Stanley Cup trophy, but it will be interesting to see if he can continue to play well without as good a defence in front of him.
Worst offseason move: Not getting better for a playoff run. Losing Rob Blake will hurt this team in the postseason because of all the intangibles he brings. This team just can’t win with the roster they have now. It’s almost identical to the roster they’ve had the past couple of years (except for the goalie), but they can’t seem to get over that hump. Not bringing in someone that could help them in the postseason should be a major letdown for Sharks fans.
Dark horse trophy candidate: Joe Thornton for the Art Ross.
Pool pick: Ryane Clowe. He’s getting tougher, getting more assists, and knows how to score. If he can crack the top two lines, he should be good for 75 points. If he stays on the third line, expect about 55 from him. Who to stay away from: Joe Pavelski. Don’t be fooled by his postseason and his new contract. Pavelski will hover around the 50-point mark.
Best hall of fame choice: Joe Thornton. He’s an iffy player to make it in. He has the points (931), and is only 31 years old. So he should make it to about 1,300 easily. But he won’t make 400 goals, and doesn’t have a Cup ring. There’s also a stigma about him that he disappears come playoff time. But he does a Hart trophy and an Art Ross trophy. But he needs that Stanley Cup to push him over the edge.
Blog to follow: Fear The Fin
My Prediction: First in the Pacific, first in the West
Famous celebrity from that city: Linda Park