4 Burning Questions Heading Into the San Jose Sharks Regular Season

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 07: An overhead view as Logan Couture #39 of the San Jose Sharks prepares to face off against Jeff Carter #77 the Los Angeles Kings at SAP Center on January 7, 2018 in San Jose, California (Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 07: An overhead view as Logan Couture #39 of the San Jose Sharks prepares to face off against Jeff Carter #77 the Los Angeles Kings at SAP Center on January 7, 2018 in San Jose, California (Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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SAN JOSE, CA – MAY 19: Timo Meier #28 of the San Jose Sharks skates ahead with the puck against the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on May 19, 2019 in San Jose, California (Photo by Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA – MAY 19: Timo Meier #28 of the San Jose Sharks skates ahead with the puck against the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on May 19, 2019 in San Jose, California (Photo by Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images) /

4. Which young Sharks will rise to fill important holes?

Many key pieces of last year’s playoff run shipped out of the Tank. Players like Joe Pavelski, Gustav Nyquist and Joonas Donskoi all sought bigger contracts in free agency, leaving the door open for younger Sharks to rise up from the depths.

Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier took advantage of those opportunities last year, collecting career-high totals across the board and solidifying top-six roles for the seasons to come.

Who’s next in line to turn in a breakout season? Well, Kevin Labanc deserves to get consideration as the right candidate after signing a very team-friendly deal this off-season.

Playing in all 82 games in his third season with the Sharks, Labanc racked up a career-high 17 goals, 39 assists and 56 points. Most importantly, he became a sneaky sniper on the wing for the top-line power-play unit where he tallied 20 points on the man-advantage.

Labanc could see a spot in the top-six this season after settling nicely along Marcus Sorensen and Joe Thornton on the third line. Labanc can swiftly skate and score, but finds room for improvement in his defensive and neutral zone transitions.

Nevertheless, the Sharks have more options than Labanc. In fact, the team could summon a few promising prospects from the Barracuda.

The likes of Ivan Chekhovich, Sasha Chmelevski, and Joachim Blichfeld have circulated in rumors for potential jumps to the NHL to round out San Jose’s forward depth.

On defense, Radim Simek took control of a splendid small sample of games after his December call-up last season, playing important top-heavy minutes partnered with Brent Burns. Unfortunately we saw Simek go down with a season-ending injury late in the Sharks’ schedule, but the 26-year-old Czech defender is ready to go for training camp next month.

After years of having a very thin group of defensive prospects it seems that San Jose finally has a few skaters capable of making the leap into the NHL. The most ready being Jacob Middleton and potentially Mario Ferraro after some time down the Barracuda. We also can’t forget blueliners like 2018 1st round pick Ryan Merkley who’s still perfecting his game in Juniors, but will likely be a huge part of Team Teal’s future.

Hot. 3 Wildcard Candidates for the Sharks Captaincy. light

The Sharks’ draft picks and players scouted from other professional leagues have panned out well over the last few seasons, but this year Team Teal will relying on this core group of skaters more than ever.