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Evaluating the Sharks with the bye week, trade deadline looming

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With the deadline looming, what has changed?

San Jose Sharks v New Jersey Devils Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

In an article I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I explained what the Sharks needed to do in order to repeat as Western Conference Champions. Coming out of the break they were first in the pacific division and only chasing the Minnesota Wild for the top seed in the west. How have they done since then?

San Jose has played seven games since the break and went 3-1-3. Coming off a collapse in Buffalo, a beatdown in Boston and an overtime loss in Philadelphia, the Sharks broke their losing streak and beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 Sunday. Thanks to the Ducks not performing well since the break and the Oilers being on their five-day bye week, the Sharks managed to separate themselves from their Pacific foes. They chase the Wild for the top seed in the west. Minnesota has 80 points.

So have the Sharks done what I said they needed to do? The Sharks went from 22nd to 21st in the league with their power play. They still still look scared to shoot the puck and they’re failing to get quality chances. Do they need to change up the lines a little bit? I wouldn’t say the first power play unit but maybe the second unit. They might want to start studying the teams they’re playing against because they all make the Sharks power play look weak.

Their penalty kill looked really bad on their recent road trip, but it’s not a major concern. Yes, it helped lead to their collapse against Buffalo and Boston’s very good power play shredded them, but San Jose will get over their bumps in the road. The power play is more of a concern at this point.

How about scoring? The Sharks have scored 18 goals and given up 17 in the month of February so far. The Sharks offense will come; no need to worry about that. Martin Jones has proved he can lead the Sharks to the Stanley Cup Final and he will try to do so again. Every goaltender in the National Hockey League has bad games in a season, so there’s no need to hit the panic button.

Do the Sharks need to make a move to make sure they win the whole thing this time around though? If the Sharks are to make a move, might as well make it a big splash. I don’t see the Sharks going for a John Tavares, Matt Duchene, or a Gabriel Landeskog, but they definitely can if they wanted to. At the same time, don’t be surprised if the Sharks don’t make a move at the deadline. This team is already loaded on offense, defense, and has Martin Jones in net. It’s up to Doug Wilson and his gut feeling to see what is best for the Sharks come the February 28th deadline, and in the foreseeable future.

The Sharks will play three more games before their five-day bye week along with two more before the end of the month. These next five games and the bye week will give the Sharks some time to see how much of a threat they are to make a deep Stanley Cup FInal run. It’s obvious they are worthy enough, now just to find out who will be on the team come playoff time.