While the San Jose Sharks have made headlines this summer about their offseason changes, numerous other things have been curtailed. The team appeared to have their best draft in at least five years and it was glossed over. The Sharks were then awarded an outdoor game and again it didn’t catch as much attention as their first game of the season. So many stories are pushed aside due to the nature of sensationalism and perhaps one of the players who has gone largely unnoticed is Andrew Desjardins. Without him the Sharks would have real problems with the fourth line instead of the minor issues they have now.
The Invisible Man
Currently Desjardins is the only player who is guaranteed to be on the fourth line. Players that will compete to play on the fourth line include Raffi Torres, Adam Burish, Mike Brown, John Scott, Eriah Hayes, Freddie Hamilton and maybe more. Forget the headlines about Mike Brown and John Scott; odds are both players will not play more than 30-40 games next season. You can say the same for Adam Burish. Even with Torres’ injury, the Sharks fourth line will not employ the likes of Burish, Brown and Scott on a consistent basis and definitely will not have more than two of those players in the lineup at once. This brings us back to Andrew Desjardins and the usefulness he has brought to the Sharks roster.
If you go back to the 2011 playoffs the Sharks fourth line was made up of Jamal Mayers, Scott Nichol and Ben Eager; hardly an intimidating force. During the 2010 playoffs the line was made up of Jamie McGinn, Scott Nichol and Jed Ortmeyer/ Dwight Helminen. Again hardly a force to be reckoned with as this was before McGinn had developed any scoring talent at the NHL level and was prone to taking bad penalties, specifically charging majors. Since 2012, not only has Andrew Desjardins taken over the fourth line center role, but he has done so quite well. He is scoring more than Scott Nichol did and his Corsi is much better than Nichol’s was. Heck, even his goal differential while playing on a Sharks teams who did not lead the league in scoring are just as Good as Scott Nichol’s.
The Sharks fourth line is not perfect and it most certainly is not the best in the league, but Desjardins has allowed the Sharks to run four lines on a consistent basis. His ability to play ten minutes and play on the penalty kill cannot be overstated. Without him, who knows how much worse things could have been the last three years. Let’s hope he continues his strong play and serves as a role model for the younger players inserted into the lineup.