San Jose Sharks: Quick Fix or Long Rebuild?

San Jose Sharks: Quick Fix or Long Rebuild?

by March 7, 2020 0 comments

Everything that can go wrong this year, did for the San Jose Sharks.

What was once a perennial contender for the Stanley Cup, is now reduced to a bottom-feeder team, without even the comfort of their own first-round pick. Inconsistent goaltending, injuries to star forwards, and under-performing defense all led to the disaster known as the 2019-20 season for the Sharks. It’s time to take a deeper look at pinpointing the exact problem of this club, and what can be done to fix this once-prominent franchise.

First and foremost comes the biggest problem; goaltending. A dominant offense made up for the horrendous .896 SV% of starting goalie Martin Jones in the 2018-19 campaign, but Jones hasn’t really looked like a top-flight NHL goalie since the summer of 2018, and it has hurt the team in many ways.

His cap hit of $5.75 million through 2024 is hard if not impossible to trade, considering the way he’s been playing. The backup position hasn’t been any better for a while either, as Aaron Dell hasn’t reached his peak form in years.

Another issue that really shouldn’t be an issue at all is defense, which boasts stars Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, and Marc-Eduard Vlasic. While Burns and Karlsson are stacking up the points, the defensive structure of this team is horrible. The Sharks sit at 25th in the league in terms of goals against at 3.18 goals allowed per game, the blame for which can’t solely sit on Jones and Dell; the defense has something to do with that.

Finally, the offense has been picked clean and bereft of talent, with long-term injuries to captain Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, combined with failing to re-sign UFA Joe Pavelski who ultimately signed a three-year deal with the Dallas Stars, for $7 million per season.

This begs the question: With so many players on their team with long-term contracts like Evander Kane (seven years left), Logan Couture (eight years left), and Burns, Vlasic, and Karlsson who all have at least six years left at high cap hits, what should be done to fix the club? There are two answers to this question. One is to try a short-term fix, maybe sign Braden Holtby and a slew of depth forwards and a defenceman in the offseason.

This method, in theory, could work, but it’s very risky and could set the team back a few years. Another option, the one that makes a lot more sense, is the full rebuild, which means trading any and all players that you could for picks and prospects.

San Jose could develop the prospects and hopefully compete for the Cup in a few years down the road, depending on how well its executed. This is definitely the option they should choose, and while the fans may not like it, it’s the right approach and will set them in the right direction.

Former Sports Reporter & Journalist For PrimeTime Sports Talk And Other USA Today Networks

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