On Tuesday the Sharks announced that Darryl Sutter had signed a contract
extension to return for at least two more years as head coach of the San
Jose Sharks. Ever since Sutter took over the coaching position from Al
Sims, the Sharks have been building a “Darryl Sutter team.” They have made
some major trades and free agent signings in order to bring in Darryl
Sutter type players. During Sutter’s reign, the Sharks have dealt many
players who simply would not have fit in Sutter’s system. Over the past few
years, Sharks fans have seen the likes of Viktor Kozlov, Andrei Zyuzin,
Andrei Nazarov, Ville Peltonen, Vlastimil Kroupa, etc.. leave town.
Meanwhile, the Sharks have brought in players like Mike Ricci, Gary Suter,
Niklas Sundstrom, Stephane Matteau, Bryan Marchment, Dave Lowry, etc.. who
all fit nicely into Sutter’s system. Coupled with the young guns in the
Sharks’ system (Friesen, Stuart, Sturm, Marleau, Korolyuk, and the list
goes on), the Sharks have built a solid team with a great blend of
veterans and young stars. It showed last season when the Sharks were able
to get past the first round for the first time in the Sutter era.
So what does Sutter’s return mean? It means that the Sharks will be able
to continue to build on their SOLID foundation. Had Sutter left, it would
have left a huge hole for the Sharks to fill. The Sharks organization believed in
Sutter’s system, and they have committed to winning that way. Had Sutter Read more»
For the last several years, the staple of the Sharks future has been with their defensive prowess. Even though names such as Patrick Marleau, Marco Sturm, and Jonathan Cheechoo give Shark fans reason for hope up front, there are many players that give reason for being ecstatic on defense.
This year saw the emergence of two players on defense with the Sharks. The first of course is Brad Stuart who was nothing short of incredible. While he had down times throughout the year like any rookie, his year as a whole was spectacular.
Throughout the year, Stuart made his presence known. His offensive abilities are proven by the fact that all season long, he only had two times when he was held scoreless 5 games or more in a row (7 and 13 game stretches). As the year progressed, it was clear that Stuart was becoming more and more comfortable with his role not only on defense, but also as part of the offense. Next year, expect to see further strides from Stuart, as he ventures a little further into the offensive zone.
It’s hard to imagine that a team with 11 players 25 years or younger would be in search of young players to fill voids, but San Jose, like every team, is in a constant search to fill future voids in their roster. As early as next year, the Sharks may be in need of help particularly at the forward positions, and they may look to the current roster in Kentucky for that help. This article is the first of three that will start with the forwards.
Roy Sommer, the head coach of the Kentucky Thoroughblades, the Sharks primary affiliate, has done a great job of molding young players into future NHL players. Some players he has developed this year were considered career minor leaguers until this year. Now those players are now seen as possible role players in the near future.
One such player is center Eric Landry, who before this year had bounced around between Hamilton and St. John of the AHL, with a few brief stints with the Calgary Flames. During the summer of 1999, the Sharks signed Eric Landry with the intention of sending him to Kentucky, as he was expected to provide a lift with the departures Steve Guolla and Herbert Vasiljevs.
Landry has provided more than anyone expected, and if not for the fact that San Jose has been healthy at the forward positions, he would almost certainly have been called into action with San Jose. Landry is 2nd on the team in goals (32) and points (61) and is 5th on the team in PIMS (145).
The good, the bad, and the ugly… It’s the name of a good movie, and also very
appropriate for the Sharks 1999/2000 season. Certainly, this has not been a good season
for the San Jose Sharks, but there have been some bright spots. Unfortunately, this season has also had its share of bad and ugly portions for Sharks prospects.
First, I’m in a good mood, so I’ll start with the good. Clearly, it has been a very impressive rookie year for Brad Stuart. Stuart has probably been the top rookie defensemen in the NHL this year, and has consistently been around the top three in opinions for the Calder. While like any rookie he has experienced his ups and downs, he has always managed to come out of them. Stuart was named the Sharks Player of the Month for February.
Stuart has shown everything and more that he was touted as being. He has shown a great amount of offensive skill. At only 20 years old, he has quickly earned time on the special team units, and has quickly become one of their key players. While he has made a share amount of rookie mistakes, one thing that is amazing is that he has always been able to rebound from them, often nullifying the mistake before it costs his team a goal. Read more»
When talking about valuable players for a team, most first think of star players. Clearly, Jaromir Jagr is a valuable player for the Penguins, as is Lindros to the Flyers, as is Marleau to the Sharks. Am I putting Patrick Marleau in the same class as the other two? Certainly not, but he is certainly an important piece of the puzzle to the future of the San Jose Sharks. A puzzle which so far this year, has not resulted the way the Sharks would hope.
This year started great for the Sharks team, but of late, the Sharks have floundered into mediocrity, going from one of the best in the league, to one of the worst. Even when the Sharks were winning during the first month of the season, however, it was veterans such as Owen Nolan and Vincent Damphousse who were performing.
One of the most touted young players in years, Patrick Marleau is now starting to be considered a bust by some San Jose fans, and even reporters who are jumping off the bandwagon. No one can debate that he has struggled far more than expected this year, but to call him a bust is incredibly premature.
In 46 games this year, he has recorded only 10 goals and 14 assists, slower than his pace of last year, when he scored 21 goals and 24 assists in 81 games. During his first two years in the league, he did an excellent job of creating chances for himself, often missing the net from there, but at least getting the chance.