Today we'll be taking a closer look at the fantasy fortunes of some key San Jose Sharks. When you're talking Sharks, there's no better place to go than Fear The Fin. The quality those guys put together almost makes us want to go back to school... we could totally make our high school hockey team now. But we digress, we asked Matt Taylor from FtF eight fantasy relevant questions. Follow the jump to see his answers...
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Q1) Sharks Breakout of the Year?
Jason Demers - With Rob Blake finally hanging up the skates this offseason, the Sharks are left with just two players on the blueline with any real type of scoring acumen. The first is Dan Boyle, a high round pick in most drafts. The second, however, is a bit of a surprise.
Demers is a capable offensive defensemen who owns above average speed, a wicked wrist shot and an accurate pass. Although it was originally thought that the second year defenseman (and 2008 7th Round Pick) would receive sheltered minutes on the backend, Doug Wilson’s inability to add another player to the blueline means that Demers will see plenty of ice time. He’s been paired with Marc Edouard Vlasic in the preseason, and he’ll be the second point option for the Sharks on the power play. With the weapons the Sharks have on offense, you have to believe that the power play will produce, and even if Demers isn’t racking up goals, he’ll have plenty of assists to his credit.
Last year, Demers had 21 points (4G, 17A) in just 51 games with San Jose. With more minutes and last year’s experience under his belt, it’s not a stretch to assume that he’ll approach the 40 point mark this year.
Q2) Darkhorse Breakout on the Sharks?
Logan Couture – Couture is not only a breakout candidate fantasy wise, but in my opinion, he’s also a breakout candidate for the Calder Trophy. Couture, who averaged 1.26 PPG in the AHL last season, is expected to center the Sharks third line to start the season and has the capability to break into the top six if an injury occurs or if the Sharks do end up moving a forward during the season.
Couture is effectively replacing Manny Malhotra, and will also appear on the Sharks second power play unit. He’s produced at every level and showed promise last year in the NHL, scoring 7 points (4G, 3A) in the final 13 games of the regular season. If he stays healthy, Couture could find himself in the 40-50 point range.
Q3) Breakdown on the Sharks?
Breakdowns are harder to predict for the Sharks, since most of the Sharks are either in their prime or on the upswing of their careers.
Besides Boyle, Demers and Vlasic, the rest of the defense is a risky play. However, no one expects them to be very productive statistically, anyways, so that's not technically a breakdown.
If anyone is going to regress, I'd pick Patrick Marleau. He had a career year last season, potting 44 goals and eclipsing 80 points for only the second time in his career. Although I think 70 points is easily attainable for him, there are just too many options on the offense for him to hit 44 goals again. Especially if he's moved off Joe Thornton's wing to balance scoring between the top two lines, which is possible.
He's still a great option and a great player, but he's not a top 15 pick.
Q4) League-Wide Breakout of the Year?
So hard to predict, and I do think that Couture or Demers could end up being the big story next year. But with Savard hurting, Tyler Seguin is going to have the opportunity to produce. I think he’s going to have a great year.
Q5) The First Five Players Drafted?
Ovechkin, Crosby, Kovalchuk, Malkin, Heatley
Q6) Best Value for Money Goalie?
If Craig Anderson can build off what he showed in the playoffs last year, he’s solid. The save % is going to be high, I’m just worried about the wins.
Q7) Taylor or Tyler?
As I said above, Tyler. I think he’ll have better numbers on a better Bruins team.
Q8) Who is Going to Win the Stanley Cup?
Sharks. Objectively, though, I’ll say Vancouver. That team is stacked up and down the lineup.
BONUS) I'm not good at Math... does a Niitty + a Niemi = a Nabby?
Not from a from a fantasy perspective, no. But historically, Nabokov has been only marginally better than his backups statistically, so I think that the tandem is going to be just fine. They’ll split the wins between them if they both play up to their potential.
Thanks to Matt. You're probably already visiting Fear The Fin everyday but if you're not... you definitely should be.