Marcus and I text because we’re buds and because texting about the Sharks distracts us from the existential dread that fills us every day. Sometimes. Today, our Sharks discussion wasn’t as cheery as it usually is and we’re passing the burden of it on to you. This has been lightly edited because I make a lot of typos when I text.
Jacob Sundstrom: Start praying for Hertl.
Marcus White: Lol seriously. I hope Goldobin gets the call in his/Karlsson's absence
Jacob Sundstrom: Me too. Totally gonna be Goodrow.
Marcus White: Haha wouldn't mind that either as long as he actually plays
Jacob Sundstrom: DeBoer is only giving Haley five minutes a night, so I think anyone they call up will play.
Marcus White: Oh they have to. I don't think he or Labanc skated a shift in the third period last night
Jacob Sundstrom: Yeah, Labanc didn’t have a great night. The Couture line was amazing though. Gotta keep that line together.
Marcus White: I agree, I think they'll start scoring sooner rather than later. There was one shift where each of them had a Grade A chance.
Jacob Sundstrom: Yeah. Just gotta be patient with it. They’ll go on a run at some point where they average five goals a game and we’ll all forget about this. Unless Hertl is out for 40 games. Then we’re fucked.
Marcus White: Thank goodness the division is bad
Jacob Sundstrom: True enough. Even without Hertl they SHOULD still get in via a division spot.
Marcus White: Yeah exactly. Feel so bad for him, three knee injuries in three years. Just brutal
Jacob Sundstrom: Gotta start wondering what this means for his future. Only so many times you can repair something like that. Really sad.
Marcus White: Oh definitely. It's a massive concern
Jacob Sundstrom: I don’t think there’s a high percentage chance, but if this season starts to slip away because of Hertl/low percentages I’d think about trying to sell to get a better draft pick - or more of them - next year.
Marcus White: Yeah, it would likely be wise in the long run if that ends up being the case. Perhaps a 2013 type sale, where Clowe/Murray were traded for picks. They don't have a ton of guys like that, but it is a sensible approach
Jacob Sundstrom: That might a scenario where a guy like Marleau can be moved. He might be willing to go if it’s to a contender. Sharks retain salary, get a pick.
Marcus White: Should definitely be explored, especially if they aren't contending
Jacob Sundstrom: Honestly...and I know they won’t, but I’d explore that option with Marleau now. Why not? Not gonna re-sign him, he’s not helping the team, really, and you don’t NEED the cap space for this season, really.
Granted, even if you eat salary I don’t know who makes that deal.
Marcus White: I think there's thought that even in a depth role he can contribute. If they can withstand Hertl's injury, they're still a contender and unless they feel Labanc/Meier is ready and DeBoer starts trusting Nieto, there's a hole in the lineup
Not that Marleau is doing *that* much right now, but I think their depth takes a hit
Jacob Sundstrom: Yeah, I guess I just feel like he’s going to be even worse if he has to center the third line long term. That could get ugly.
Marcus White: Oh yeah I agree. I thought he was decent there last night (haven't looked at numbers) but not every team is Arizona.
Jacob Sundstrom: Arizona IS the worst possession team in the league, so I’m sure that helped. If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that we could skip the “transition year” that probably would have come next season if we can get Meier/Goldobin/Labanc integrated into the lineup now.
(Which I don’t mean to say this is a Lost Season, just that they’ll get experience they wouldn’t get otherwise)
Marcus White: Yeah I agree. They're each going to get a substantial chance if 48 is out long term.
Jacob Sundstrom: Definitely.
Thornton’s numbers are way down this year. What’s your take? Is he regressing? Tired from so many games? The Hertl connection?
Marcus White: Probably a little bit of each. He's starting to look like father time's caught up. Think Hertl's absence from top line has played as big a role as regression
Not sure if it's # of games because he is in such strong shape
Jacob Sundstrom: Right, true enough. We’re gonna legitimately have a conversation about whether or not it’s worth it to re-sign him this year. This offseason is gonna blow.
Marcus White: Yeah lots of tough decisions ahead. If they do the Lidstrom approach and sign him to one-year deals, it's worth it, but got to see how rest of the season plays out. Still only 18 games in
Jacob Sundstrom: True, but at the quarter season mark is CF% is down 3 percent from last year, 5 from two years ago and 5 from three years ago. There’s a trend.
Marcus White: If this persists, certainly very worrisome
Jacob Sundstrom: He’s still playing well, obviously, but he’s not playing Elite, really.
Marcus White: Right, and they need him to be elite
Jacob Sundstrom: In hindsight, relying on a guy near 40 to be elite may have been a mistake.
Marcus White: Yeah probably. Age of the team was definitely one of the causes of stress coming into the season
Jacob Sundstrom: Maybe this ends up being the transition year.
Any thoughts on the game last night? Sharks got Smith’d IMO.
Marcus White: I thought they played very well, and that the third period was one of their best periods of the season. It still feels like they are yet to play a "complete" game, cliche be damned.
But, still pretty firmly in a playoff spot, and only two points out of first. Five game homestand comes at a pretty critical time, given how teams on black Friday typically stay in those positions
Jacob Sundstrom: This homestand has winnable games to. They should really beat the crap out of a Devils team that isn’t great in possession and has AWFUL special teams.
Marcus White: Jerz, Isles, Ducks, and Desert Dogs are winnable for sure. Hawks are a tougher challenge, but that will be a good early measuring stick
Jacob Sundstrom: Even the Hawks aren’t all that good this year (other than Corey Crawford). They don’t need to sweep it or anything, but they’ve gotta get more than 50 percent of the points for sure.
Marcus White: Yeah 3-2 should be the baseline. Anything more will help a lot.
Jacob Sundstrom: Definitely. It also appears the Ducks are significantly worse under Carlyle (which we expected, but you never know), the Oilers are slipping and the Kings are the only other decent team in the division.
Marcus White: That's the good thing for San Jose: even in midst of struggles/flaws becoming apparent, they should still be able to win the division. I think the rest of the conference is flawed as well. A lot of teams struggling
Makes their dominance even more apparent!
Jacob Sundstrom: Yeah, I think this is a year where the Eastern and Western conferences become more balanced. The Sharks, Blues and Kings are all good ... and that’s kind of it. Unless Nashville figures it out.
Marcus White: So many ifs. If Dallas gets goaltending, if Nashville can find that possession style that was so successful, if Crawford maintains his pace (which I think is possible)
Jacob Sundstrom: Anything is possible and most of these “what ifs” could take hold late in the season and still dramatically change the playoff picture. Very tough to predict anything. Which I guess is fun.