Tuesday, October 25, 2011

San Jose Sharks: 5 Players Projected For Big Seasons So Far

The San Jose Sharks are not off to the most ideal start at 4-3-0 through the first two weeks of the season. However, we can still get a good look of how this team will fair come mid-season and further.

The roster is stacked head-to-toe with talented players seeking a shot at the Cup and this season is as good as ever for this franchise to win one.

First things first, there have been no surprises.

Chemistry is an issue, which we assumed would happen after an offseason in which GM Doug Wilson basically switched up the top lines. Also, the defense is as good as advertised, and Brent Burns heads that attack.

During these first two weeks, we have seen some players stand out from the rest, and we can pretty much guarantee gigantic seasons from them this season based on what we have seen from them during these first few games.

5. Ryane Clowe

Clowe has had quite a start to the 2011-12 season so far. He has tallied six points, including two goals and four assists on a second line that is starting to figure each other out with Martin Havlat in there.

We know Clowe is good for a mass number of PIMs, but it may be his offensive game that could climb this season thanks to a maturing Couture and crafty Havlat.

Last season's total of 62 points is very attainable of he continues to get the looks he has been given. We can be sure to see him climb over the 70-point mark if things continue this way.

4. Patrick Marleau

Marleau almost should not be on this list just because we have begun to expect big seasons from him in San Jose.

However, this first line is so in sync on the ice that it is almost a guarantee that he will not only match his usual 70-point total, but may be just his second season of over 40 goals.

With Thornton and Pavelski playing as well as they are on that first line, this is probably the most likely of scenarios for statistics on this team.

3. Joe Thornton

Another player who we expect big things from in San Jose year after year.

To reiterate what this first line has the capability of doing this season, Thornton, Marleau and Pavelski play with such comfortability around each other that all three are set to have major seasons.

The first line has been getting looks, and it is just a matter of time before the goals start piling up.

Thornton is the facilitator on this line, and although is goals scored will hover around the 30-goal mark, we will see his assist total soar this season. With scorers like Pavelski and Marleau, it is almost inevitable.

We can expect around 60 assists from him and close to 80 points if things keep up.

2. Brent Burns

Burns is as good as advertised, if you hadn't noticed.

He has proven to be a decent defender, as well as a dominant force on the power play with that heavy shot from the point.

It does not seem he is fully used to the order of business in San Jose just yet, but that will come around with time, although we can already see him and Vlasic creating a little chemistry from game to game.

From the looks of it, we can expect around the same season that he had in Minnesota last year, which was 17 goals, 29 assists and a total of 46 points. However, that +/- will rise considerably from his -10 with the Wild.

Good things happen when he is on the ice in San Jose.

If everything goes according to plan, his ho-hum season will earn him a spot in the NHL All-Star Game.

1. Joe Pavelski

You do not have to pay much attention to the game to know that Pavelski is loving his duties on the first line these days.

With Marleau and Thornton on this list, why not round out the entire first line with Pavelski. These three players have such chemistry together that their stats will undoubtedly rise this season.

Pavelski is getting shots at the net he never thought would come, and it is thanks to Marleau and Thornton for setting those shots up.

So far, he has six goals and two assists in seven games, but he leads the team in shots on net, as well as leading the team in shooting percentage at over 16 percent.

He is poised for a giant year if paired up Thornton and Marleau for the rest of it.

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