Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – San Jose Sharks
For the last 15 years (12 with The Hockey News, last year’s via pinch-hitter Cam Robinson) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 16th 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.
Incoming – None
Impact of changes – The Sharks lost a pair of regular forwards, a regular defenseman and two oft-scratched forwards. Then they brought nobody in. So what does this mean? Well, it means that youth will be served. And it’s about time. There are several forwards champing at the bit for more ice time and several more who are close to making the jump to full time. If you own a Sharks prospect or two it will actually start paying off this year.
Young forwards such as Kevin Labanc, Timo Meier and Marcus Sorensen will see more (and better) ice time. And I think this especially helps the right-shooting wingers because now there are only three of them on the NHL roster as it currently stands – Labanc, Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. And Labanc’s name should have jumped right out at you when you read that.
Ready for full-time – Antti Suomela is a late-blooming Finn in the same mold as Donskoi, except he has higher upside. The 24-year-old led liiga in scoring last season and as it was with Donskoi he could jump directly onto the Sharks roster. But it would likely be as a part-time player initially, before working his way up the depth chart over the next two seasons. He is one to watch as he has scoring-line upside.
Dylan Gambrell is a skilled player with complementary talent who turned pro in the spring. He saw his NCAA production decline when his U. of Denver team lose such talent as Danton Heinen and Will Butcher. But he was still able to play with Troy Terry and Henrik Borgstrom, so his production there may be overstated. He’s on the bubble and long term is likely destined for the third line.
Lukas Radil is a hulking 28-year-old winger from out of the Czech Republic, coming off of a pair of KHL seasons that saw him post a combined 71 points in 107 games (28 goals). He’s not coming to North America to play in the AHL so he’s going to push hard for a spot. He’ll get a few cups of coffee with the big club and if he makes a good enough impression he’ll be in their plans for 2019-20.
Defenseman Radim Simek was signed in the spring of 2017 after a successful career in the Czech league. Turning 26 in the fall, he is probably the closest NHL-ready defenseman in the system as he transitioned very well to the AHL last year when he posted 27 points and was a plus-6. He’s a little short for a defenseman at 5-10, but he weighs 205 and has a strong center of gravity.
Maxim Letunov is a prospect the Sharks coveted at the 2014 draft but ended up having to trade for him a couple of years later after St. Louis got him first (and had later dealt him to Arizona). He signed a pro contract in the spring, but likely needs a full season in the AHL. He has Artem Anisimov-type upside.
San Jose Sharks prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – The Sharks finished 12th in goals-for last season and should be in around there again in the year ahead. They employ a score-by-committee approach which has its pros and cons in fantasy. On the downside, there is no superstar to line up your player with for a spike in production. On the upside, your player going anywhere on the first three lines will still make him useful. On defense it’s Brent Burns or nothing – 70 points out of him with the next guy (likely M-E Vlasic) at 30 or 35. The pipeline is average or slightly below average in terms of fantasy interest, but the organization always seems to find late-blooming Europeans to fill any holes.
Fantasy Grade: C+ (last year was C+)
Other Offseason Fantasy Outlooks:
- Ramblings: Revisiting Goalie Situations in Pittsburgh, Arizona, and Columbus (Jan 24)
- Ramblings: Cholowski recalled; Koivu returns; looking back on preseason thoughts - January 23
- Forum Buzz: Nylander or DeBrincat, Hold or Sell Huberdeau, Can Trocheck Rebound?
- Injury Ward: Updates on Rask, Hamilton, Panarin, Tarasenko, and more
- Ramblings: Skills Competition, Questions on Hughes vs. Dahlin, Hintz, Gibson (Jan 25)
- Looking Ahead: Danault, Habs Worth Targeting
- Capped: All-Star cap league team
- Frozen Tools Forensics: Malkin and the Giant IPPeach