Sharks’ Global Series Performance Indicates Rough Season Ahead

The San Jose Sharks recently completed their games against the Nashville Predators in the NHL’s 2022 Global Series. However, the results were far from ideal, as they found themselves on the wrong side of a victory celebration in both games. If the first two games of the regular season were any indication, this could be a rough year for the Sharks.

While, as a whole, the Sharks played pretty poorly in Prague, a few significant things stuck out as being especially intriguing. These are some key takeaways the team should look at when evaluating how they plan to move forward during the 2022-23 season.

Sharks Neglect the Young Players

David Quinn got his first chance behind the Sharks’ bench during a regular season game during the Global series. However, what many fans witnessed was not precisely what they had hoped to see. Rather than run with the relatively successful preseason lines, Quinn made a few shakeups that seemed to preach the idea that everyone has to earn their spot. While that would ideally be a good thing, it seems to have resulted in some young players getting the boot for the first two games.

William Eklund San Jose Sharks
William Eklund, San Jose Sharks (Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Of the few excluded players, William Eklund stands out as the most egregious. He had a phenomenal preseason, and he showed a lot of promise to be the star forward the Sharks are in desperate need of. Unfortunately, Quinn decided that Eklund would need to wait a bit longer to make his 2022-23 regular season debut.

While the excuse can be made that sitting Eklund for the first game was reasonable, sitting him for the second one made no sense. The Sharks could not put pucks in the back of the net to save their lives, but Quinn settled for minor offensive changes rather than give him a chance. What resulted was another game where despite putting up over 30 shots, they could not solve Kevin Lankinen.

Related: William Eklund Ready to Play in the NHL

In addition to Eklund, Thomas Bordeleau did not get a chance to play either. He had a great preseason as well, but Quinn still believes the young players have to earn their place. Hopefully, they will be given more of a chance soon. However, if they are not, the least the Sharks could do is let them play in the American Hockey League (AHL). Games played will always be better than riding the bench.

Sharks Lack Top-Line Talent

Watching the Sharks play in the Global Series showed how sparse talent is throughout the roster. Thomas Hertl, Timo Meier, and Logan Couture played well offensively, and Erik Karlsson and Mario Ferraro locked down the defense fairly decently. However, outside of those players, there were virtually no top-line players anywhere in sight.

Timo Meier San Jose Sharks
Timo Meier, San Jose Sharks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Luke Kunin got a chance to play against his former club for the first time since he was traded and managed to score a goal. However, Kunin being the offensive firepower behind the central core was not what he was brought in for. Teams that want to compete have to be able to find consistent production from somewhere. However, the Sharks might struggle to find that this year, especially at this rate.

The defense was not much better, either. More often than not, defensemen were caught like deer in the headlights on big plays. This led to the Predators being able to exploit the open ice quite often. However, the defense struggling in big moments is not that big of a surprise. They looked shaky to begin the season, and with Ryan Merkley playing in the AHL, there are no real breakout candidates on the blue line.

Related: Ryan Merkley Needs More Ice Time

It looks like this season might be the Sharks’ best chance at landing a high first-round draft pick. That being said, there is plenty of time for things to turn around. Maybe with the proper adjustments, the Sharks could be back in the win column soon. However, that is not looking very realistic as of now. Besides, a good chance at Connor Bedard may be worth all the suffering this year.