5 Most Disappointing San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks currently own a playoff spot but that spot is far from secure as their season has been far worse than last year’s 111 point finish. While a number of Sharks have performed well, key Sharks haven’t been as good as expected. Here are the five most disappointing Sharks thus far this season.

5. Matt Nieto

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Nieto has unfairly been harshly criticized by many Sharks fans for not having as many points as expected. In reality he hasn’t been terrible by any stretch. With a decent finish to the season he could very easily match his 24 points in 66 games as a rookie last season. Nieto’s elite speed has made him effective on the forecheck and created space for a number of different linemates this season. For a good chunk of the first half of the season Nieto’s Corsi-for percentage was at or near the top of the NHL leaderboard. While he deserves more credit than he has gotten for his overall game, the fact of the matter is goals and assists are expected from a kid as talented as Nieto. Sure enough his low point totals have a lot to do with bad luck but his production is still nonetheless disappointing. It would be much more disappointing if the low totals were purely out of bad overall play but possessing the puck as much as he has, he plain and simple needs to put the puck in the net much more frequently.

4. Antti Niemi

San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi  (Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr)
San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr)

Given his track record in San Jose for having a .920 or better regular season save percentage every other season, I certainly expected more from Niemi this season. Coming off a below average year and a terrible playoff needing a new contract after this season, I expected the best Niemi we have seen to date. Unfortunately for Sharks fans that hasn’t been the case. Recently Niemi looked terrific in a shutout of his former club the Chicago Blackhawks but then he looked like a flopping fish against the Edmonton Oilers. Currently Niemi owns a .914 save percentage on the season which doesn’t make one feel good about him getting hot in the postseason. The single postseason in his career where he posted a save percentage above .914 was in 2013 when he posted a .930 in the playoffs. That regular season his save percentage was a a career high .924 and he was nominated for the Vezina. When he won the Stanley Cup with Chicago he posted a pedestrian .910 save percentage that was actually lower if you take out the only series he was good in, coincidentally against San Jose. Outside of the Conference final against the Sharks, Niemi wasn’t very good at stopping pucks in the 2010 playoffs. In two of four playoffs with the Sharks, Niemi has finished with a sub .900 save percentage, that isn’t nearly good enough. Niemi has shown he is capable of getting hot but far too infrequently does that happen. Not stepping his game up during a contract season is very disappointing.

3. Justin Braun

(Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports)

Last season Braun was absolutely fantastic as a two-way defenseman. In the first half of the year he was solid on the top pair alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic and then when pairs were mixed up Braun carried Brad Stuart as his partner. Stuart had a down year and Braun made up for it, being the alpha Shark on that second pair. This year Braun started out strong again with Vlasic but after about 20 or so games into the season he started to struggle and has not yet found his game again. Currently out with a broken bone in his hand, Braun has not been the same defensively reliable stud that we saw the previous two seasons. Instead there have been a number of lackadaisical misreads or plays where he gets caught staring at the puck like on this goal below by Minnesota’s Jason Zucker. The Sharks don’t have a whole lot of depth on the back end and they need Braun to find his game again if they want to have any significant playoff success. Thus far it has been a very disappointing year for Braun.

2. Tomas Hertl

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

After dazzling as a rookie, Tomas Hertl has struggled mightily this year. Unlike Nieto it hasn’t been because of bad luck, but rather health. Watching Hertl skate this season it is evident that his knee is not fully recovered from last season’s injury. What made Hertl a star last year was an explosive stride and acceleration that allowed him to jet through the middle to score multiple breakaway goals. At full speed Hertl wasn’t and never will be a speed burner like Nieto, but a year ago his strides were much more powerful than they have been this season. Hertl hasn’t been able to get the same push off which has limited his ability to create separation from defenders. As a rookie Hertl scored 15 goals and 25 points in 37 regular season games. Thus far this season Hertl has just 10 goals and 22 points in 54 games. Fewer goals and points in 17 more games is certainly disappointing after he was able to come back at the end of last season for a strong playoff. One has to wonder how much the “minor setback” on the knee injury during the offseason has affected him this season.

1. Patrick Marleau

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Like Nieto, Marleau has dealt with some serious bad luck this season when it comes to offensive production. Despite throwing his usual amount of shots on goal that he does every year, Marleau is on pace for his worst goal scoring season since his third year in the league back in 1999-2000. His shooting percentage therefore is crazy low at just 6.8%. Generally speaking when a player is slowing down because of age, the shots, chances, and opportunities are what decrease, not the execution or success rate of those opportunities. Again this isn’t a list of the five worst players on the Sharks, rather the most disappointing. Marleau being on pace for less than 20 goals when he is an annual 30 plus scorer, that is extremely disappointing. At this point of the season we are used to seeing Marleau have around 18-22 goals, but he is sitting on just 11 right now. The Sharks are going to need him to have a strong stretch run and find the back of the net in the playoffs with regularity if they want to make any noise.

21 thoughts on “5 Most Disappointing San Jose Sharks”

  1. Andrew you are frighteningly clueless. You need to pay attention to a lot more than what you believe you see on the ice. You are ill prepared to write these articles. You do more harm than good.

    • Please mr anonymous tell me who your five most disappointing sharks would be. Don’t tell me any of these five guys have met expectations this year.

  2. I didn’t see the top 5 list, but I would bet Thornton is on it… We can’t figure out the love affair everyone has with him, why?? He goes to the corners and does the same thing time after time after time. He’s always turning the puck over, Oh, but he has over 1200 pts!! Whoopie!!! If more than half of them were goals it would be a good argument for his greatness…. They are assists. He turns the puck over and is completely predictable, notoriously predicable. To me, he is more of a detractor than a benefit. He needs to go and they should name a captain. I feel like without a captain there is confusion in the leadership role. They probably look towards Joe as a former Captain when far as I’m concerned either Pavelski or Logan should be Captain, probably Pavelski would be the best qualified for the position. The love affair with Thornton is ridiculous….

  3. What about Torres? The guy is a spark plug when he is actually playing…..I know I am going to get heat on this one but to me Thornton has been a disappointment in post season every year. Sure, he is an amazing player and his stats speak for themselves. But at the end of the day, it is cups that matter and the great ones all have them in common.

    Also I agree with Marleau, I have been saying for the past four years we should trade him while he is still worth something in return. I think the time for market value on Marleau has passed at this point. For some reason there is some emotional tie with Marleau and the Sharks. Maybe they forgot it is all about the cup.

    • Marleau’s ‘tie’ is a 3 year deal and some sort of a no movement clause. And I’m quite sure the article states its about the players this year. Not last year or the year before.

      • Right, three year deal signed at the end of last year. I am aware of that and my point was it makes no sense….I am talking about this year not the year before..anyhow

  4. 6) Todd McLellan Can’t seem to get talented team motivated. Word is they are going to give Ricci a chance next year.

  5. Its the hockey writers, not even credible hockey news imo. Het gets a lot of flack on the Sharks Facebook page because he posts his dribble on there as well. He had a huge hard on for Mirco Mueller early this year saying he was the next Dan Boyle, Well that worked out well didn’t ?

  6. I do not know why brad stuart is not on this list and near the top. That guy is useless out there. Way to many turnovers in the defensive zone and gets pushed off the puck way to easily.

    • Sorry I meant Scott Hannan. Brad Stuart on my mind after reading about Braun. Hannan is what I throw my banana peels in

  7. After all this bashing of the kings and sharks this year, wouldn’t it be funny if they finish 2nd and 3rd and play each other again in the first round?

  8. A couple of things, first stop with the word LUCK, because good players and good teams create their own “luck”. Being unlucky is just a lazy mans excuse. You could say every player who is having a down year like Niemi is just have a bad luck season. Maybe last year a few of those pucks that went in go off the post. In the end if there is such a thing as luck it equals out. Because maybe that player who is unlucky this year was just lucky last year. Maybe Braun was just lucky to playing so well with a solid and knowledeable d partner like Stuart. Or maybe Braun was just lucky in his match ups or maybe he got lucky because the goalie saved his bacon many times. As for scoring maybe he got lucky because a goalie was screened or a goalie miss played a shot. See this so-called luck thing runs both ways. Maybe the La Kings were just lucky to win the Stanley cup last year because they got the right mat hugs, or maybe they created their own so-called luck, Again it works both ways.

    • May i ask what you don’t like? This was a two part series, recently i posted about the team’s top 5 best performers, and subsequently wrote about their five most disappointing performers. Our analysis tells us that audiences enjoy rankings/top 5/top10 style articles.

  9. He’s gone from +26 to -4 (last I looked) and Sharks mgmt was telling us this move was going to make the team better. By 30!! goals, its not. How that doesn’t make the ‘most disappointing list”, I don’t know.

    As for ferall saying Burns is incredibly dynamic, yup. An All-Star. Well someone selected him and his defense was a perfect fit for a game that finished 17-12. But is he helping this team win? Not so much. Good on the PK (to my surprise) and PP, but a huge defensive liability 5 on 5 that makes him dynamic — in ways good and bad. To date, way too much bad.

    • No doubt he is a better forward than dman, and i dont agree with his all star selection, but he has been a force on the power play. Plus in recent weeks his goals for percentage at even strength (slightly better stat than plus minus) has jumped up from around 42-43% to over 48%. So after a bad start to the year, with Vlasic recently, he has started to improve those numbers.

  10. really, no Brent Burns? Wilson was telling folks how he was going to be great back there — and he’s been a minus player with every d-man he’s been with other than Vlasic. Burns makes the same sort of coin that Couture, Pavs, etc make. And he’s a minus player this year. Who was in the box when CGY scored their PP goal last night? Say what you want about Nieto, but I can live with a guy making 6 figures having issues. I can’t live with the guy making $6mil being a liability.

    Of course, Jason Demers probably makes this list near the top if he’s still here — the overall Dillon-Demers combo has been a disappointment

    • Burns was an All-Star, he is incredibly dynamic. Burns represents the Sharks in a nutshell with the poor decision making defensively and not always wanting to get physical. Offensively he is a juggernaut and having him on the ice for 25 minutes a game helps.

    • as much as i criticize burns defensively, he has been such a force offensively, he made my top 5 sharks performers list, definitely not top 5 most disappointing. Its not his fault hes been switched to a position hes not as good at. To his credit he has still managed to be a big contributor scoring goals

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