Joel Ward and Patrick Marleau have combined for just six goals and six assists since the beginning of February.
The San Jose Sharks have been a much deeper team this season than in year’s past, but right now, two of their more relied upon players are struggling at an inopportune time for team teal. If San Jose is going to make a deep run this postseason, they are going to need more production from forwards Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward.
Both players have cooled off significantly after starting the season on the right foot. Ward was a pleasant surprise for San Jose early in the year after inking a three-year deal with the Sharks this offseason. The 35-year-old forward put up nice numbers with six goals and four assists in his first month in teal, and followed that up with another nine points in November (three goals, six assists).
However, the well has dried up for Ward of late as he has failed to register a point in his last eight games and only has two goals in his past 14 contests. While Ward contributes in a variety of areas and has solid totals with 36 points, the Sharks need him to regain his scoring touch to help balance out the lineup.
Meanwhile, Sharks fans are all too familiar with the streaky nature of Marleau’s game. When he’s hot, Marleau can carry this team, but when he’s not, his scoring draughts can last quite a while.
Case in point, Marleau had three goals in the first four games of the season and owned a four-game goal streak at the end of November. Of late though, it’s been a different story for Marleau.
Similar to Ward, Marleau has just two goals in his last 14 games as he’s struggled to find his form. After struggling a season ago with 57 points, he’s projected to have only 47 points this year as he has just 19 goals and 20 assists thus far.
Another concerning number for San Jose is Marleau’s plus/minus rating which is a team-worst minus-15 for the season.
As you can see, it’s been a rough go of late for these two forwards whom the Sharks will count upon this spring. It will be interesting to see if Peter DeBoer decides to give some of his veteran forwards some rest heading down the stretch, especially with Tommy Wingels set to return soon, to ensure they are fresh for a postseason run.
Regardless, San Jose can ill-afford to have Marleau and Ward’s struggles linger into the playoffs. The Sharks have thrived this year when DeBoer has rolled four lines, and Marleau and Ward are a big part of the equation.
Now, with only 15 games remaining, it’s time for both of them to take it upon themselves to elevate their games and start producing for their teammates once more.