The Sharks are getting perilously close to the outer rim of relevance as Stanley Cup contenders. Yes, they ranked among the top half-dozen teams vying for the title, but a late swoon raised eyebrows. And with so many free agents in their lineup and the likelihood a few of them aren’t retained, there’s an expectation the Sharks may join California cousins Anaheim and Los Angeles in rebuild mode within a few years.
IMMEDIATE NEEDS: When the Sharks were flagging, their defense looked porous and prone to leaving big gaps in their own zone. That can be patched up with help from the forwards, but the truth is the defense corps is getting old. Brent Burns has hit 1,000 games, Marc-Edouard Vlasic will do so next season and Justin Braun is 32. If Erik Karlsson isn’t re-signed, this unit will nee...
About the Author
Brian Costello joined The Hockey News in 1990 when the likes of Bruce Boudreau, Randy Carlyle and Joel Quenneville were players, not coaches. Costello covered major junior hockey for five seasons before getting called up to THN. He likes to focus his attention on pre- and post-NHL careers, following closely the progress of the draft, up-and-coming prospects and fancying himself a Hall of Fame expert.