NHL Power Rankings Week One: Capitals, Lightning, Predators, And Ducks Are Favorites

14 of 31

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: #18 – San Jose Sharks

Coming in at #18 are the San Jose Sharks. They had a horrible offseason last year. This year, they’re back on track and should contend for a playoff spot.

STRENGTHS: The Sharks strengthened their blue line this offseason by signing Paul Martin. He’s starting to age, but he’s still a very good defenseman. They already have two excellent defensemen in Brett Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Burns had a breakout season last year and gosh darn it how can you not love him? He’s the human equivalent of a Wookie. Vlasic is one of the best two-way defensemen in the league.

Their forward core will continue to lead the team. They added playoff hero Joel Ward. Ward is a versatile forward who can slot in on pretty much any forward line. He should make the Sharks power play even more deadly. Joe Thornton is a treasure. He is to assists what Alex Ovechkin is to goals. Joe Pavelski is an elite forward. Logan Couture is on the cusp of being elite.

WEAKNESSES: The Sharks rely a bit too much on Pavelski and Thornton. They’re both over the age of 30. Tomas Hertl needs to have a breakout season to ease the pressure off those guys. I’m also not a huge fan of Martin Jones. Props to the Sharks for acquiring the goalie that the Kings refused to trade to them, though.

OUTLOOK: This team will definitely contend for a playoff spot. I question if they can get enough production from their other forwards to get into the playoffs. I’m also not 100% sold on their defense.

Next: #17