Tag: Tomas Hertl

Alex Stalock

San Jose Sharks ’15-16 Outlook


The last time the San Jose Sharks missed the playoffs in back-to-back years was in 1996 and 1997, but they’re in danger of it happening again.

Whether or not they’ll be able to prevent that will depend largely on their goaltending. With Antti Niemi gone, San Jose is going with a combination of Alex Stalock and Martin Jones between the pipes. There’s certainly potential there, but the duo only has 83 games worth of NHL experience between them.

Stalock wasn’t that great last season either and while Jones had an impressive 2.25 GAA in Los Angeles last season, his .906 save percentage left something to be desired. Besides which, Los Angeles only called on him 15 times last season and just 11 of those were starts. So it’s entirely possible that neither will be ready to take the reigns in 2015-16 and that alone could sink the Sharks.

If their goaltending proves to be adequate though, then they still might run into issues offensively. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will both be 36 years old by the time the season starts and they declined somewhat last season. The Sharks no longer need them to be the team’s offensive leaders, but they do have to be significant contributors and if their age is catching up with them then that could be a big problem.

At the same time though, the Sharks do have reasons to be hopeful. They have some promising young players, including Tomas Hertl, who has shown flashes of brilliance but struggled in his sophomore season. Still, he’s just 21 years old and could be major part of this team going forward. On the defensive side of things, Brent Burns is coming off of a great campaign and newcomer Paul Martin should help solidify their top-four.

San Jose has the potential to be competitive this season, but it all comes back to Stalock and Jones as it’s hard to see this group doing much if neither of those two step up.

Looking to make the leap: Tom Wilson

New York Islanders v Washington Capitals - Game Two

The numbers from Tom Wilson’s first two seasons in Washington pretty much explain his role.

Hits: 402

Penalty minutes: 323

Fights: 26

Goals: 7

While Wilson’s been effective as the energy-slash-enforcer guy, it’s probably not the role most imagined when the Caps made him the 16th overall pick in 2012. Taken ahead of the likes of Tomas Hertl and Teuvo Teravainen, the big-bodied Wilson — 6-foot-4, 210 pounds — should be able to do more.

Just ask his head coach.

“Willie is one of my favorites,” Barry Trotz told the Washington Post this offseason. “I think he’s got a great upside, but at the same time I don’t see him as a fourth line winger for the Washington Capitals.

“To me, he’s better than that.”

Wilson has appeared in plenty of games — only four players from his draft class have been in more — but hasn’t really played all that much, averaging 7:56 per game in his rookie year, then 10:56 as a sophomore, all of it in a predominantly fourth-line role. Part of that is age, having just turned 21 in March, and part of that stems from ex-head coach Adam Oates, who thrust Wilson into the muscle role to compensate for what he saw as a lack of team toughness.

Trotz, though, sees something more.

He gave Wilson top-line minutes last year alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom and while the promotion was brief, it provided insight into what Trotz thinks of Wilson’s potential — a big-bodied power forward that can physically punish opponents and produce offensively.

“My goal will be pretty simple with Tom,” Trotz said, per CSN Washington. “Tom needs to elevate his game. We’ll talk about all those areas of where he can and how he’s going to do it and where we see him needing to get to.”

But is this the year it happens?

There is competition for top-six minutes, especially at wing. Washington’s added some veteran talent in Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie, meaning Wilson, a pending RFA, may not get a shot at his breakthrough until 2016-17.

Or perhaps beyond.

“We want to get Wilson more ice time next year. We need to bump him,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said. “Maybe not next year, but the year after, we have to turn him into a top-six forward.

“We just need him making more plays, doing more with the puck, contributing offensively, and I think we can get that out of him.”

Report: Oates might join DeBoer in San Jose

Adam Oates

Adam Oates was linked to the San Jose Sharks back when the head coaching position was still on the table. That job ultimately went to Peter DeBoer, but Oates might still join the Sharks’ staff as an assistant coach, per TSN.

Oates had a 65-48-17 record in two seasons as the bench boss in Washington. He was let go after the Capitals failed to make the playoffs in 2013-14, but joined the New Jersey Devils as a co-coach after DeBoer was fired. Oates has reportedly informed New Jersey that he will not return after missing out on that head coaching job to John Hynes.

As a minor, but interesting side note, Oates once accused Sharks forward Tomas Hertl of disrespecting the league back in 2013 when the then rookie forward scored a between-the-legs goal. That led to Sharks GM Doug Wilson saying that Oates should worry about his own team and not “being a caretaker of the game.”

Oates is a Hall of Famer that recorded 341 goals and 1,420 points during his 1,337-game playing career.

Report: Sharks talking to Oates about coaching gig

Adam Oates

San Jose’s search to replace Todd McLellan continued today, with TSN reporting GM Doug Wilson would speak with former Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils bench boss Adam Oates.

Oates, 52, spent two seasons in Washington, going 65-48-17 while making one playoff appearance (losing in seven games in the opening round of ’13.) He then spent last year as co-coach — along with Scott Stevens and, briefly, Lou Lamoriello — after the Devils turfed Peter DeBoer.

Speaking of DeBoer, he and Oates find themselves connected once again as San Jose casts a wide net in the search for a new coach. The former Panthers and Devils bench boss has also interviewed for the San Jose job, along with Randy Carlyle. Wilson has also reportedly gained permission from Pittsburgh to interview Dan Bylsma.

That Oates is getting an interview in San Jose is slightly amusing, given the minor spat he and Wilson had in the fall of 2013. Following Sharks forward Tomas Hertl’s between-the-legs goal against the Rangers, Oates criticized the rookie for “disrespecting the league,” comments that Wilson quickly fired back at.

“I think [Oates] should worry about coaching his team, and not worry about being a caretaker of the game,” Wilson said. “I would not allow our coaches to make comments about other team’s players.”

Yes, Bryan Lerg will play for the Sharks

Frozen Four Championship Game

As if the San Jose Sharks hadn’t been criticized enough this season, they got another dose of disapproval last night when AHL call-up Bryan Lerg was made a late healthy scratch for their game against Dallas.

Lerg is 29 and has never played an NHL game. Not surprisingly, he was overjoyed when told he finally would.

“It’s a dream come true and I’ve been waiting a long, long time for it,” he said Monday morning, per the Mercury News.

So when he wasn’t in the lineup because Tomas Hertl (ill) was well enough to play…

The good news is that Lerg has not been sent back down and should make his NHL debut in one of the Sharks’ remaining two games, Thursday in Edmonton or Saturday in Los Angeles.

The bad news is that the Sharks were officially eliminated from playoff contention yesterday.