San Jose Sharks Need Defensive Help As Deadline Nears


The San Jose Sharks possess the offensive firepower to challenge for the postseason, and make a little noise should they find themselves in the tournament. However, the Sharks need to upgrade their rear guard in front of Martin Jones to give themselves a chance to contend against some of the best teams in the Western Conference.

Currently, San Jose owns the league’s fourth-best offense at 2.88 goals per game and eighth in terms of total goals with 147. Also, the Sharks are potent with the man advantage as well, converting at a 22.1 percent clip, ranking third in the NHL in that department.

But the one area where San Jose needs vast improvement is the blue line as the Sharks continue to rank in the bottom-third in terms of keeping the puck out of their own net. San Jose ranks 21st in the league, allowing 2.71 goals per game, while ranking slightly better on the penalty kill at 80.4 percent (18th overall).

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In looking at the Sharks defensive corps, it’s evident that they possess five NHL-caliber defensemen. Dylan DeMelo has held his own, but he’s not the kind of physical blue liner that is needed in the grinding style of playoff hockey.

As Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area points out, San Jose can ill-afford to lose one of their key defensemen. At different points in the season, Paul Martin, Justin Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic have all missed time due to injury and to say the Sharks have struggled in those games would be an understatement. San Jose went 1-6-1 while allowing an average of four goals per game.

With the NHL trade deadline approaching at the end of the month, the Sharks need to add another NHL-ready defensemen to provide a nice insurance plan. One name linked, via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, to San Jose has been Roman Polak of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 29-year-old Polak would be a nice addition for the Sharks defense as he has playoff experience and provides the physicality that is lacking at the present moment. Polak has had a steady season in Toronto amassing 12 points (one goal, 11 assists), a plus-six rating and 50 penalty minutes in 19:18 of ice time for the Maple Leafs.

According to General Fanager, San Jose has around $3.6M in cap space with Raffi Torres and Ben Smith currently in the AHL. Now Polak does carry a $2.75M cap hit for this season, so he could fit in with the Sharks should they choose to pursue him.

Next: Sharks Preparing Themselves For Playoff-Style Hockey

Whether general manager Doug Wilson decides to pursue Polak or some other defensemen, he needs to make a move to bolster his blue line. The Sharks are a win-now team that could use another addition to their defensive corps to help solidify that unit.

If Wilson can pull it off, San Jose would be much bettered positioned for a playoff run this spring.