5 Reasons to Watch the Sharks this Season

By: Joseph Johnson
William Eklund.jfif
theathletic.com

 

Although the Sharks have been poor these past two seasons, there is reason to be hopeful. This time last year the Sharks looked directionless and had a bleak future. Players up and down the line-up had underachieved and three of the Sharks big 4 posted incredibly disappointing seasons. This year, the Sharks can’t help but give fans hope and an optimistic outlook on the season. Here’s my top 5 reasons to watch the Sharks this season:

 

5. A weak Pacific Division and a deep draft

The Pacific Division this season is going to be a crab shoot. There are five teams gunning for that 3rd playoff spot, all of which can make good arguments for themselves. The only 2 teams that can be considered locks are; the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who will almost surely be 1st in the Division, and the Edmonton Oilers, who with recent forward additions will most likely be 2nd in the Division. It’s very possible the Sharks sneak into that 3rd playoff spot, they will just have to battle hard and be consistent throughout the season. 

Even if the Sharks miss the playoffs this season, they will certainly draft a highly skilled prospect. The 2022 draft features some of the most skilled draft maybe ever. With Shane Wright a unanimous 1st in the draft, there is a wealth of skill following him in the positions the Sharks need (Right Defense and Center).

 

4. A Mario Ferraro breakout season

Mario Ferraro is entering his 3rd year in the NHL this season. He was just recently announced to be an Assistant Captain, an honor not oftenly given. All signs point towards a breakout season in which the offensive production finally picks up. Since his rookie season, Ferraro has been a solid and reliable defensive option. His defensive play is above average and it could be argued he played the best defense last season. With a great work ethic on and off the ice, it’s a matter of time until Mario Ferraro turns up the heat.

 

3. New young faces

 Sharks will have 5 rookies: Eklund, Dahlen, Weatherby, Hatakka, and Pederson. This is the most rookies on a sharks opening roster in quite a while. With many aging faces on the team an injection of youth will do wonders for the team's offense. Jonathan Dahlen was acquired in a trade a few years back from the Vancouver Canucks. He’s 23 and looking to break into the league while also making an impact on a Sharks team desperate for offence. Jasper Weatherby secured the 4th line center role this past camp. He was able to beat out NHL regular Dylan Gambrell and earn a Powerplay role. Hopefully he can provide a consistent and solid presence in the bottom 6. Santeri Hatakka was a huge surprise at this year's camp. Drafted in 2019 as a 6th round pick, Hatkka was able to earn himself a roster spot and a potential NHL appearance in the coming week. Lane Pederson was an Off Season acquisition from the Arizona Coyotes. He had a decent camp and stood out at some times; he showed flashes of great skill, but fell short when he was required to finish (score goals). Hopefully he can get that fixed and look to have a solid season of the 4th line with Weatherby.

 

2. Fresh Goaltending

Doug Wilson identified a huge problem at the end of the season: goaltending. He went out and acquired Adin Hill from the Arizona Coyotes. Hill looked solid in his two preseason games and it earned him the starting role this home opener. Hopefully he can bring a stable presence to Sharks goaltending that has been sorely missed the past four seasons. Riemer was signed this Off Season to a two year deal. He will be a solid 1B to Adin Hill this season and give an extra sense of security to an strengthened tandem

 

1.William Eklund

The Sharks were somehow able to draft William Eklund 7th overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He demonstrated outstanding skill in the 5 preseason games he played, recording the most points of any Shark with 1 goal and 4 assists. Eklund rightfully earned himself a roster spot and position with Hertl this season. The star rookie will hopefully rise to the hype and continue his superb play from the preseason. The sky's the limit for Eklund and the Sharks are incredibly lucky to have him.