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Grading every Sharks forward through 41 games

Couture, Thornton, and Pavelski top the list through the halfway point of the season.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at San Jose Sharks John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

As of January 14th, the San Jose Sharks are now at the halfway point of the season. Here’s a look at how each forward has performed through the first 41 games:

Logan Couture - “A”

Exceeded or under achieved: Exceeded

Couture has been the best Sharks forward this year by far, tallying 17 goals and 14 assists in 37 games. Couture is almost playing at a point-per-game rate and is on pace to put up 60 points, his highest total since the 2014-2015 season. The 28-year-old Guelph native has already had a four point game, a hat trick, and a player of the week award this year.

Joe Thornton - “A-”

Exceeded or under achieved: Exceeded

Thornton is certainly making a name for himself during his one-year “tryout” contract with the Sharks. Through 41 games played, he has registered nine goals and 21 assists for a total of 30 points. The 38-year-old is on pace to put up 60 points, 10 more then his total from last year.

Joe Pavelski - “A-”

Exceeded or under achieved: Exceeded

Pavelski has been one of the better players on the Sharks in the last couple of weeks and is now sitting at nine goals and 20 assists for 29 points in 41 games. Pavelski being on pace for 58 points in a year where he started so slow is a great sign, especially with a mystery injury that addled him early in the year. Pavelski will look to keep up the momentum, with a six points in five games streak leading him into the second half.

Tomas Hertl - “B”

Exceeded or under achieved: Met expectations

Hertl is having an up and down season this year, as he is currently fifth on the team in points with 12 goals and 12 assists in 41 games. Despite the recent struggles with only two assists in his last five games, Hertl is still on pace for a career-high 48 points and already has more points than last year in eight fewer games.

Kevin Labanc - “B-”

Exceeded or under achieved: Met expectations

Labanc is playing in his first full season in the NHL and has had a much better year so far. The 22-year-old New Yorker has four goals and 16 assists in 36 games which matches his point total from last season in (19!) fewer games. Currently with two points in his last seven games, Labanc will have to pick up the slack and come out firing for the second half.

Joonas Donskoi - “C”

Exceeded or under achieved: Under Achieved

Donskoi has been an up and down player this year: some games he goes unnoticeable on the third line, but other games, including Saturday’s thriller against the Arizona Coyotes, Donskoi has been a star. Tallying 18 points in 35 games this year, Donskoi will look to stay hot through the rest of the season, proving he can come back from major injuries last season and return to his rookie form.

Chris Tierney - “C”

Exceeded or under achieved: Under Achieved

Tierney is currently in his fourth career NHL season and has recorded 10 goals and seven assists in 41 games so far this season. Although he is still young at 23-years-old, Tierney’s 35 point pace doesn’t show he’s capable of handling more responsibility. Tierney has finally started to pick up the pace as of late, with four points in five games heading into the back end of the season.

Timo Meier - “C-”

Exceeded or under achieved: Under Achieved

Meier is currently in his sophomore NHL season and has tallied eight goals and five assists in 40 games so far this year. It pains me to say this, but we may have a huge bust on our hands. Meier looks lost out there each and every game and although he is only 21-years-old, a ninth overall draft pick should put up more than 19 points in his first 74 career NHL games.

Melker Karlsson - “C-”

Exceeded or under achieved: Met expectations

Karlsson is having yet again another average NHL season, with only six goals and five assists in 35 games. The 27-year-old is on pace for roughly 25 points, which would be a career high, but the Sharks need more from him moving forward. Karlsson currently has two assists in his last 13 games and no goals since December 9th. Something has to change in his game and it has to happen fast.

Mikkel Boedker - “C-”

Exceeded or under achieved: Under Achieved

Boedker has hit a rough patch the past couple of seasons and has 10 points in 33 games so far this season. The 28-year-old might be playing his last year as a Shark if his struggles continue, as a 4.8 million dollar player should not be on pace for a 27 point season.

Joel Ward - “D”

Exceeded or under achieved: Under Achieved

Something is not right in Ward’s game and the answer has to be age. Registering four goals and four assists in 33 games this season, age has to be a factor for the struggles and some might wonder how much longer the 37-year-old has. Ward is on pace for a career low 20 points and the timing could not be any worse for him as he is currently on the last year of his contract and who knows what the future will hold.

Jannik Hansen - “D-”

Exceeded or under achieved: Under Achieved

February 28th 2017, the day that the Sharks traded Nikolay Goldobin to the Canucks for Jannik Hansen. Hansen has been the worst forward on the Sharks this year and thank god his contract ends this year, so I don’t have to watch this guy play anymore. Hansen has recorded four assists in 26 games so far this season and three assists in his last 19.