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The Daily Chum: Can San Jose get back to the Stanley Cup Final?

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Rank your confidence in the San Jose Sharks

NHL: Boston Bruins at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

It’s extremely difficult to take a step back and evaluate a team during the grind of the season. Thankfully, the bye week offers a unique opportunity to do just that. The Sharks play their 61st game of the season tomorrow night and, with 22 games to go, are in a favorable position in the Pacific. But what’s your confidence level at in San Jose to make another deep postseason run?

It took a while, but the injury bug finally bit San Jose this season. Tomas Hertl missed more than half the campaign thanks to another knee ailment and it sounds like Joonas Donskoi will finally return to the lineup on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks. Dylan DeMelo is hurt, David Schlemko has missed time and all that has cost the Sharks wins over the course of the season.

That’s not so different from last year. Logan Couture and Paul Martin missed significant time and as such it makes comparing the first two years under Pete DeBoer rather difficult. Here’s what we know for sure: San Jose is a top five possession team in both fenwick and corsi and are scoring at a higher clip despite not creating as many scoring chances (more on that later). The power play hasn’t worked and Martin Jones has taken a step back in even strength play.

San Jose has gotten a lot from rookies but seems hesitant to commit to playing with four scoring lines, instead turning to Micheal Haley more nights than not. Both Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto have been shipped out while the grinder/fighter has stuck around and it’s hard to know what the Sharks lineup will look like when the postseason rolls around.

If there’s a cause for concern it’s the Sharks’ scoring chance numbers. San Jose dominated the league in that category last season and its 56.44 mark is No. 3 amongst all teams from the past two seasons. The Sharks’ 52.08 notch ranks 17th out of the 60 teams from the past two seasons and 10th this season. In a couple of words: Not great.

What the hell happened here? San Jose generated scoring chances at an incredible rate right up until the the postseason and then ... no more. Things started to track back upwards recently before dying off again. This is worth another investigation in it of itself, but if there’s a reason for worrying about the Sharks...this is it.

With all that being said, where do you rank the Sharks’ chances at making another deep run? Vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments.