The San Jose Sharks are in the midst of a rough season. Despite numerous changes to the roster and even more changes to management, the team still continues to struggle. In their last ten games, they have only managed to pull off three wins. Of the three wins, the Minnesota Wild was the only team even remotely close to decent that they have been able to beat. Clearly, something is still not clicking.
Now that the middle of the season has arrived, the Sharks have nearly locked themselves out of the playoffs. While there was never a huge belief that the postseason was a realistic option for them, it’s still sad to see a once mighty team continue to flail at the bottom of the standings. However, there are a few specific things to highlight as to why they may be struggling so much as of late.
Sharks’ Defensive Issues Continue to Grow
It’s honestly baffling that defensive issues still manage to exist on the Sharks with Erik Karlsson’s return to form. That being said, he has been praised the most for his offensive game during his career, and with no true lockdown presence on the roster, the Sharks routinely find themselves trying to catch up. The core has fallen apart, and the talent is beginning to dry up fast.
Perhaps the biggest offender of the Sharks’ lack of defense has been Mario Ferraro. Despite being one of the most promising young players for the team in recent memory, his numbers have not been great this season at all. In 34 games, he has six points and a plus/minus rating of minus-20. The Sharks absolutely need him to get his game in gear if they want to start moving in the right direction.
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It’s hard to figure out how the Sharks can solve their defensive struggles. What they really need to do is overhaul the entire roster from top to bottom. That being said, trying to alter that much of the team at this point of the season is unrealistic. For now, the main thing a fan can hope for is consistency, which might be a difficult ask.
Sharks Severely Lacking Depth
Apart from Karlsson, Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, and Logan Couture are also having decent years. Meier is maintaining an above-point-per-game average so far, and the other two are just behind. It’s also worth noting that Alex Barabanov is having a very good season so far as well. Unfortunately, however, that is where the magic ends.
The top line for the Sharks has essentially carried the team to the minuscule number of wins they’ve been able to reach. Without their top players, there would be no one to keep them in games. Some of the offseason additions, like Matt Benning and Nico Sturm, have been just average. That being said, depth scoring has been an issue for a long time, and it doesn’t look like that will be changing anytime soon.
However, the Sharks’ depth issues range farther than their scoring ability. James Reimer and Kaapo Kahkonen have been struggling to pull their weight as well. Going further down the pipeline, Eetu Makiniemi and Strauss Mann are all the Sharks have to find immediate goaltending relief. Aaron Dell could maybe slot in here and there, but he is far from a long-term solution to the recent issues.
If the Sharks are able to somehow pull off a miracle like the 2019 St. Louis Blues, I doubt many fans would be upset. However, it might be time to throw in the towel and set all sights on Connor Bedard. Mike Grier has recently stated that his competitive nature will keep him from tanking, so it looks like they will be hauling their way to the bottom of the standings all on their own. By all accounts, another miserable season has taken place.
Andrew Stille is a freelance writer for THW who is currently studying Journalism and Communication in college. In addition, he’s a devoted NHL content creator looking to grow and learn daily. Andrew is a trustworthy source for everything San Jose Sharks-related and strives to create fun and exciting articles for all readers.
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