Last preseason notebook I broke down how important confidence is to teams, and why preseason games kinda-sorta matter, in that a lot of wins can start a team off on the right foot. Now that the San Jose Sharks are playing their final preseason game tonight, let’s take a brief look at how the Sharks’ competition is doing.
The Pacific Division is one of the more wide-open divisions. The newcomers in the Seattle Kraken are relatively untested and will be trying their best to replicate the “Vegas Effect” of 2018. Speaking of, the Vegas Golden Knights and Edmonton Oilers have been successful in their regular seasons, but have struggled in the postseason. The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks are still in their rebuilding phases, but have a slew of young talent who are shaking up their rosters, and the Calgary Flames and Sharks are ‘resetting’, but are also expected to make more of a splash in the regular season than last year.
The Sharks have done ... okay, in the preseason. They’ve won two out of the five games they’ve played so far, but both games they’ve won were great examples of what the team could be in the regular season, along with a few close games they ended up losing (but could have won).
The Oilers are leading the division in the preseason, having won five of their seven preseason games, including a 6-0 win in their second game against the Kraken. Despite that loss, the Kraken are right below the Oilers, with four wins out of six games under their belt. Then the Golden Knights and Kings each hold three out of six wins.
The Sharks have yet to face any of their Canadian counterparts or the fresh-faced Kraken in the Pacific Division, but the way the scores are lining up right now, the Sharks are towards the back end, tied with the Flames, Ducks and Vancouver Canucks, with two wins so far.
When it comes to the rest of the NHL, the other division leaders in the preseason might be a little surprising. The Columbus Blue Jackets and the New Jersey Devils are leading the Metropolitan Division, with four wins each. The Jackets have won four out of six games, with two more to play. The Devils have won four out of their five games.
The Atlantic Division has three current leaders, with the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs are all tied with four wins as well. The Red Wings have won four out of seven games with one left to play. The Panthers have won four out of six games with one game left, and the Leafs have won four out of five, with one game remaining.
In the Central Division, the Arizona Coyotes are leading the pack with having won five out of their six games. Who expected that?
The Sharks are playing their final preseason game tonight at SAP Center against the Golden Knights. Puck drop is at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN+ and NHL Center Ice, with a rebroadcast on NHL Network on Saturday, Oct. 10.
The regular season opens on Oct. 12, but the Sharks won’t play their first regular season game until Oct. 16, at home against the Winnipeg Jets at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET.