Sunday Subjects is a weekly series where we will raise questions for fans of the San Jose Sharks to ponder throughout their week.
The 2018 – 2019 San Jose Sharks were able to put up historic numbers in the offensive zone. Equipped with one of the most potent offenses in the entire NHL Team Teal managed to score the most goals in their franchise history with 289.
Focused on dominating possession and using their elite skill on the blue line to help filter pucks into the dangerous areas of the ice, San Jose consistently ranked at the top of the league in both traditional and advanced scoring metrics.
Probably the most impressive aspect of the offensive surge of 2018 – 2019 was the amount of skaters who contributed to this monumental milestone. San Jose had a total of 12 double-digit goal scorers with 6 of those Sharks eclipsing 20 by seasons end.
Team Teal carried this explosive offense into the postseason sporting 2 of the top 5 goal scorers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl). Despite the spectacular efforts in their opponents end of the ice the Sharks ultimately lost in the Western Conference and now find themselves facing some serious questions about their roster.
In free agency the Sharks had to make drastic franchise altering decisions, which they did by allocating the bulk of their cap space on the new deals for Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier. These choices eventually resulted in the departure of the former captain and leading goal scorer Joe Pavelski, along with other double-digit scorers Gus Nyquist and Joonas Donskoi.
After all that and now with the 2019 – 2020 season on the horizon it’s fair to wonder will there be a huge drop off in production from last year?
Some may argue (me) that the Sharks are already well equipped with the talent necessary to repeat their historically great season. With players like Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc primed and ready to take on 1st unit powerplay responsibilities and consistent top 6 minutes. Both of these players have big gaps between where they are as skaters now and their projected ceilings. San Jose is banking on them taking that leap next year, which will help off-set the losses of Pavelski and company.
Nevertheless, it’s fair to have concerns heading into next season, especially when a lot of next years success relies on health and development. Losing your captain, number one goal scorer, and your most consistent offensive threat is a huge hurdle to overcome and will likely take a team effort to replace that level of production.
We will never truly known until the game gets played on the ice. Whether you are a skeptic or all in on San Jose this season there is absolutely no doubt that 2019 – 2020 will exciting to track. And with nearly 2 months remaining in the off-season we all have plenty of time to wonder if the San Jose Sharks can continue to score goals at relatively the same rate as their milestone 2018 – 2019 campaign.