Are the Defensive Pairings Set in Stone?
Last season the Sharks compiled another year where they performed very well statistically in their own zone. Much of that success is due to the stellar play of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun who were consistently matched up against opposing team’s first lines.
It also seems that Joakim Ryan has gelled well on the left side of Brent Burns. So one would think that there aren’t very many questions heading into camp, but the Sharks have a few intriguing young defensemen looking to make an impact in the upcoming weeks.
The Sharks signed Dylan DeMelo in the offseason to a 2 year 2 million dollar signing per capfriendly. Ostensibly, the team has its pairs settled for the upcoming season, but still there are some names to keep an eye out during training camp that are looking to crack the lineup.
Players like Jeremy Roy is coming off a significant injury but has a high ceiling, Nick DeSimone who played very well with the Barracuda last season, and of course fan favorite Tim Heed. This is the last chance for a player like Heed to make a name for himself since he is no longer waiver eligible. The Sharks are unlikely to have him sit in the press box for another season when they might be able to compile assets for him via trade.
A lot of the excitement surrounds this defensive group because of the presence of the Sharks 2018 First Round pick Ryan Merkley. He lit up the ice during the recent Vegas Rookie Faceoff and one should be excited to get to see him take reps with the big boys. It’s been a very long time since the Sharks have had a true “Blue Chip Prospect” within their farm ranks.