While San Jose is a team known primarily for their veterans, these three youngsters played a pivotal part in team teal’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.
During any extended postseason run, you must have contributions from everyone throughout the lineup. The San Jose Sharks certainly did with the likes of Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Brent Burns leading the way for team teal.
However, San Jose also received some key contributions from a trio of young players who used the playoffs as their coming out party.
All three of these players faced questions at different parts throughout the year and all three came through with a big postseason effort.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three of the breakout candidates for the Sharks during their Stanley Cup Final journey:
1. Martin Jones
There’s only one place to start and that’s in goal where Jones was simply phenomenal for team teal this season.
It was right around this time last year when Sharks fans were wondering who would man the nets in San Jose.
Then, Doug Wilson went out and acquired Jones for a first-round pick in Friday’s NHL Draft and the rest, as they say, is history.
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While Jones had the occasional rough patch throughout the year, he was brilliant when his team needed him the most.
Jones proved that he could be a bonafide starter in this league after posting a 37-23-4 record with a 2.27 GAA and a .918 save percentage and six shutouts.
He took his game to another level during the playoffs where he nearly carried this franchise to a Stanley Cup. He was far and away the best player in teal during the Cup Finals where he posted an astounding .932 save percentage.
After proving that he could be a starter during the regular season, Jones showed that he could develop into a star after his playoff performance.
2. Chris Tierney
It was a tale of two seasons for Tierney who struggled early on in finding his place within Peter DeBoer’s lineup.
However, as the season progressed, it was easy to see the confidence growing within Tierney who slowly began to earn the trust of DeBoer.
After recording only seven goals, 13 assists and a minus-16 rating during the regular season, Tierney had a breakout campaign during the playoffs.
Tierney developed into a perfect third-line center for the Sharks and rose to the occasion. Many pundits identified Tierney as a potential weak spot for San Jose, but he proved the doubters wrong.
He finished the postseason with five goals and four assists with a plus-eight rating as he continues his development into a very solid NHL player.
3. Joonas Donskoi
When the season began, nobody knew what San Jose had in the 24-year-old forward from Finland, but he quickly developed into a fan favorite for the Sharks.
Donskoi slid up-and-down the lineup in his rookie season, but found a nice chemistry with Logan Couture.
He showcased a calmness with the puck and incredible playmaking ability. He developed into a top-six winger for team teal and was one of the most reliable forwards by the end of the year.
During the postseason, he showed a knack for seizing the moment, including one of the biggest goals in Sharks history when scored the game-winner in Game 3 against Pittsburgh for the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup victory.
He concluded the playoffs with six goals and six assists, and the future appears very bright for Donskoi in teal.