Oh, what a difference Erik Karlsson can make.
Good chart boy Dom Luszczyscyn has been previewing every team over at The Athletic in order of points projected by his model. San Jose threw a wrench in his plans when, as he was writing the series, they traded for who may be the best defenseman in the league, bumping them from just a 59 percent chance of making playoffs to a top-eight in the league team, and forcing Luszczyscyn to scrap his entire article.
It is behind The Athletic’s paywall, but here are a few keys points made:
- There is a two-in-three chance that one of these top eight teams wins the Stanley Cup.
- The Sharks still lack true top-line/elite talent at forward, but have an elite top-four defense (with a bottom pairing of Dillon and Braun).
- With Dom’s model, the Sharks’ defense is just a hair better than the Predators, making them the best in the league.
- The Sharks are fighting hard against an aging curve when it comes to Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski in particular, but also a good chunk of the core group.
- Martin Jones is average in the regular season and this is just something we have to accept, but the difference between his regular season and playoff performances is also a real thing (a real thing with a small sample size). Aaron Dell is likely starter-quality.
- Sharks fans are tending to over-rate this team compared to what models are projecting, which I mention only because since when are Sharks fans feeling good about anything? It’s a whole new era, my friends.
Check it out below, even if you have to use The Athletic’s free trial to do it. It’s a very good read.
News & Notes
- The Sharks are now playoff contenders in The Athletic’s 2018-19 NHL Season Preview
- If you’re already on the Athletic, check out this great piece from Craig Custance: NHL stars suspicious of latest data on ideal time to pull the goalie
- Here’s an unlocked and important piece about Flames prospect Tyler Parsons, who speaks frankly on his journey through hockey and combating mental health
- Hockey players apparently really love... coconut water?
- Marcus White continues to be the best content boy, taking a look at how the addition of Karlsson changes the Sharks’ defense group and pairings
- If you’ve got time to listen to a podcast, the Hockey PDOcast dives into the Karlsson trade
Scores & Recaps
- New York Islanders 3, Philadelphia Flyers 2 (SO) [Lighthouse Hockey game day news, Broad Street Hockey]
- Washington Capitals 1, Carolina Hurricanes 5 [Japers’ Rink Cap Clips, Canes Country recap]
- Buffalo Sabres 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 5 [Die By The Blade recap, Pension Plan Puppets recap]
- Columbus Blue Jackets 0, St. Louis Blues 3 [The Cannon, St. Louis Game Time gamethread]
- Chicago Blackhawks 5, Ottawa Senators 2 [Second City Hockey recap, Silver Seven gamethread]
- Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Nashville Predators 1 [Raw Charge recap, On the Forecheck]
- Calgary Flames 3, Winnipeg Jets 4 (OT) [Matchsticks and Gasoline, Arctic Ice Hockey gamethread]