The San Jose Sharks made some big moves before the trade deadline on Feb. 24, 2020. They ended up dealing Patrick Marleau for a 2021 conditional third-round pick, and Barclay Goodrow for Anthony Greco and a 2020 first-round pick. They also acquired Brandon Davidson from the Calgary Flames in exchange for future considerations.
These trades signal that general manager Doug Wilson will be looking to acquire replacement players at the draft, which most likely means that the Sharks will be going into full rebuild mode for the next few years. So what should fans be expecting moving forward?
Lack of Team Depth
Losing Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi, Justin Braun, and Gustav Nyquist was hard enough. But now the Sharks are really lacking depth after losing Dillon, Marleau, and Goodrow. Assuming that Wilson wants to go into a rebuilding phase and grow the team by finding talented young players, you should expect to see a lot of new faces cycling through the lines for the remainder of the year.
Related: San Jose Sharks – A Brief History
The positives to this are that new players will get the opportunity to show the coaches whether or not they can compete. However, the obvious negative is that the Sharks will have a hard time beating teams who have set rosters and veteran players. Team chemistry will also take a beating because players will have to adapt to new faces on their lines. This will continue to affect the scoring chances that the Sharks come across and will make it harder for the team to produce goals.
Losing top forwards like Goodrow, Marleau, Donskoi, and Pavelski has undoubtedly taken a toll on the team’s offense. The Sharks have struggled to put any real pressure on teams and sustain it for any significant time. Having to rely on a few forwards to pick up the pieces has proved to be ineffective and makes it easier for opposing teams to defend. I would expect to see this continue as they are still trying to find players who can play together and develop the ability to become top-six forwards.
Martin Jones or Aaron Dell?
Over the last few games, Martin Jones and Aaron Dell have been rotating as to who gets the start in net. Unfortunately, neither of them have been able to go on any win streak and shut down the other team. Moving forward, the Sharks will need to fix this problem and find someone who can be consistent every night.
I do not expect there to be any immediate changes to this situation as there are more pertinent problems that should be addressed first, but I doubt Wilson would be opposed to finding someone new if the opportunity presents itself. Fans should expect Bob Boughner and Evgeni Nabokov to continue rotating between Dell and Jones for the rest of the season and giving both goalies the chance to step up and take the reins of starting goaltender.
As for next season, I believe that Wilson will try to pick up a free agent or promote Josef Korenar from the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL. Either way, Wilson needs to find a serious fix to the goalie problem in San Jose if he wants to start winning games.
2020 Draft Picks
This year has the potential to be a big draft year for the Sharks. They have acquired several early-round picks by trading their players and could win big in the lottery as well. The Sharks will probably be looking to fill their vacant forward positions along with picking up a big defenseman who can fill the role of Dillon.
The Sharks will also be utilizing free agency in the offseason and be looking for players who can contribute to the team. I expect them to be looking for a goaltender and some veteran players who can lead the young talent they will acquire in the draft.
Loss Of Veteran Players
There has been great talk after the Marleau trade over whether or not Joe Thornton should have been given a chance as well. Unfortunately, Wilson didn’t give him a shot on another team and has decided to keep Thornton on the Sharks roster. However, does this mean that Jumbo Joe’s career will be over after this season? I do not think so. I believe that he will continue to play until he physically can’t anymore. Thornton has said many times that he still has more energy and that this season will not be his last. But whether or not he will try to move to another team is the big question.
Another veteran who could be on the move is Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Vlasic has a no-movement clause in his contract but could waive it if he wants to. With the downfall of the team and his career coming to an end, it could be possible that Vlasic moves to another organization.
What all this means is that the Sharks will be a very different team in the coming 2020-21 season. After the major trades and loss of key players, Wilson is looking to rebuild the franchise and make a return to the playoffs as quickly as possible. However, to do that, things will have to change. They will need to find new talented forwards, fill the open gaps on defense, and address their goalie situation. Sharks fans should be prepared to miss a few playoff years as their team tries to get back on track for a Stanley Cup run. Who knows, maybe a rebuild is something they need to do to finally hoist up the Cup.
Let me know in the comments section what you expect to see from the Sharks in the future.
Jacob Kim is a recent graduate of Pepperdine University. Jacob started playing ice hockey at the age of three and continued to play at a high level until the age of 16. Jacob has a background in writing on legal issues pertaining to sports, especially the NHL.