Are you concerned with the Sharks slow start?
The San Jose Sharks fell to 1-2-0 with a 4-0 shutout loss to the New York Islanders on Monday afternoon. It was another ho-hum effort by a team slated to be a Western Conference contender.
Are you worried?
Obviously, one win in three games is not the start many envisioned when the Erik Karlsson trade came down, but all is not lost. In fact, I could argue that a slow start for San Jose was to be expected considering the shift in roster hierarchy and the added expectations.
As it stands the team is struggling to find any type of chemistry.
Through three games, the Sharks have been outscored 11-5 with ZERO power play goals. The effort is there - I think. San Jose is outshooting their opponents, on average, 33 to 22. The just hasn't been much puck luck - another sign the team lacks cohesion early on. Only four players have scored a goal for SJ and none of them are named Burns, Karlsson, Pavelski, Couture or Thornton. That has to be an anomaly and one that should soon sort itself out (fingers crossed).
The Sharks have the 10th worst goals against in the NHL and Martin Jones is off to a horrendous start personally. His 3.03 GAA and .856 save percentage are third worst among goalies with at least three starts. The numbers are bad but Jones isn't even passing the "eye test." Only Charmin is softer than some of the goals he's allowed. Worried now?
Simply put...It's been a rough start, but It shouldn't be all that surprising when you consider all the questions marks the team had coming into the season.
Let's dig a little deeper.
- Erik Karlsson is still trying to find his fit with the team. He was the man in Ottawa. In San Jose, he is another piece to a very talented puzzle. There is going to be a wholesale feeling out process. A couple of preseason games are not enough to find chemistry, championship chemistry. It will take time, hopefully not too much time.
- Karlsson was expected to help the power play and as of today, it has not. The power play actually looks worse - if that's even possible. This too shouldn't come as a surprise. The man advantage is a continual work in progress, even for clubs with dominant special teams. The Sharks will work through it. That's on Pete Deboer. A team with this much talent and this much experience will get it figured out. Again a new core working through it.
- Where is the offense? The Sharks struggled to score goals in the first half of last season. A big reason why Doug Wilson went out and traded for Evander Kane. When healthy, the Sharks offensive weapons look scary on paper. There lies the problem. A healthy Joe Thornton is already on the IR with swelling in his surgically repaired knee. Jumbo has one assist in two games. Couture, Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi, Burns, and Karlsson have a combined four assists. That is a whole lot of firepower shooting blanks in real life. This won't last. It can't last.
- On the bright side, Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl and Kane look very good. I expect Meier and Hertl to be big contributors this season, but they cannot be relied on as the entire offense.
- On the dark side, Joe Pavelski's goal totals have dropped from 29 to 22 to zero so far. The captain has a grand total of four goals in his last 20 regular season games. That's concerning.
- Martin Jones is struggling. He's fighting the puck on every shot. We saw some of this last season and I believe one of the key reasons why Aaron Dell is still a Shark. A safety net for Deboer when his ace is floundering. I expect to see the backup start in Philly this evening. If Dell wins and looks good is doing so, PDB has to stick with him until Jones finds his game again. Agree or disagree?
Again, are you concerned with the Sharks slow start?
Thanks for reading,