Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – San Jose Sharks
For the last 13 years (12 with The Hockey News) I have reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them. My 14th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – They didn’t make a lot of moves and they didn’t have a whole lot of cap space to make those moves. But the moves they made unquestionably improved the team. The addition of Boedker gives them a top six forward with 20-goal, 55-point potential – and his arrival solidifies the top nine. It actually pushes Melker Karlsson (likely) to the fourth line. Check out these projected line combos (per my Fantasy Guide):
With Karlsson, Donskoi and Wingels interchangeable. This is an aging group, with core guys Thornton (37), Marleau (38) and Pavelski (32) now past their prime. But they have a couple of top prospects knocking on the door, and Boedker (26) was one of the youngest unrestricted free agents out there. His signing, combined with a healthy roster, could mean that both Timo Meier and Nikolay Goldobin (more on them below) start the season in the minors – with Meier going back to the QMJHL.
The Schlemko signing gives the team the option of delaying Mirco Mueller’s arrival for another year.
Ready for full-time – Goldobin tallied 21 goals and 44 points in 60 AHL games last season, so he’s almost got that league figured out. He’s on the cusp of a roster spot, though the Boedker signing will make that difficult. Still, because he’s in the AHL as opposed to junior, he’ll be the first player called up this season. Put him on a scoring line and potentially he could surprise as a rookie. (Read more on Goldobin here)
Meier was the ninth overall pick in 2015 and he’s just capped off two years of QMJHL dominance whilst playing for Halifax and Rouyn-Noranda. He’s got nothing left to prove at the junior level, but will have to go back there if he doesn’t make the team. Look for him to get a nine-game trial and perhaps the Sharks will make room for him. A Calder candidate if he makes the team. (Read more on Meier here)
Mueller is a stay-at-home defenseman with a bit of upside (maybe the high-30s, though likely lower). He has been playing pro hockey for two years now, but only started to get the hang of things around the midpoint last year. He could use at least another half-season of AHL time. (Read more on Mueller here)
Mantas Armalis is so dreamy. Wait, did I type that or just think it? In all seriousness, the recently-signed free agent goaltender moonlights as a model (Google his image – he makes Henrik Lundqvist look like a cave man). He’s a solid goaltending prospect, but is at least a year away from the NHL. However, the Sharks do not have a backup goalie right now, so…until that changes, Armalis could be the man. But given Martin Jones plays 65 to 70 games, the Sharks may just settle for a seldom-played, inexperienced backup. (Read more on Armalis here)
Fantasy Outlook – With two 70-point forwards, a rare 70-point defenseman in Brent Burns, and a potential 70-point player in Logan Couture, it’s no wonder that the Sharks ranked fourth in scoring last season. Throw in a few potential 55-point players in Donskoi, Boedker, Hertl and Marleau, plus breakthrough rearguard Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and fantasy owners need to give this team a second look. Yes, the core is aging – but GM Doug Wilson has done a great job of setting this team up to transition to the next group of young, skilled players.
Fantasy Grade: B (last year was C+)