Wednesday, November 2, 2011

San Jose Sharks: 5 Players That Need To Step Their Game Up

The San Jose Sharks have officially clicked as a team, after a 5-1 east coast road trip has revived this team's very early season blunders.

The addition of Martin Havlat has stabilized the Sharks' second line, and Joe Pavelski is having a field day with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau on the first line.

However, the team is having some trouble.

The penalty kill is a major part of this team and how it will fair down the stretch, and it has yet to show up.

Here are five players that need to step up their game.

5. Jamie McGinn/Brad Winchester

As minimal a role as these two players play on the bottom lines, it is all that more important that they contribute to the cause. The cause is tallying in the statistical category, and these players have just two points between them.

McGinn is a key part of this team with the way he works incredibly hard when on the ice, but we keep waiting for him to show up in the stats department on a regular basis. We have yet to see that.

Winchester is not a player that will be much of a factor when it comes to scoring, as he has scored over 10 goals only once in his career. However, he has flied virtually under the radar when on the ice, which can be good or bad.

His big body will keep him on this roster, but McLellan may want to see more from him down the road.

4. Brent Burns

It is tough to call out a premiere defenseman like Burns, but the fact is he has been rather sloppy when it comes to handling the puck.

Sure, he makes up for it with his bullet of a shot from the point, but the turnovers have been a key factor for the Sharks and him in particular this season.

3. Colin White

Where is the six-foot, five-inch behemoth of a defenseman that the team was in dire need of?

He is there, just not very noticeable yet.

The third line of White and Demers have been a combined -11 so far this season and that is simply not acceptable when we are talking about one of the best defensive teams in all of hockey.

White is there for physical purposes, but he needs to play more a significant role on this team if the defense is to play up to par.

2. Jason Demers

For a player supposedly on the verge of a breakout season, Demers' +/- of -6 is simply disappointing.

Many thought the physical/finesse duo of Demers and White would pay dividends for this team. It has yet to show even glimpses of dividends, and it is hurting this team.

Demers needs to play to his potential, but working intuitively with White is what needs to happen first.

1. Michal Handzus

As much of a Swiss Army knife that Handzus is, it is all that more imperative that he play all those roles well on the ice.

The penalty kill, which he plays a huge part of, is one of the Sharks' biggest weaknesses.

He heads a group penalty killers with huge potential in this kind of situation, and they have yet to show up.

Handzus, as captain of that penalty kill, needs to receive the blame.

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