@ItWasThreeZero always answers our questions about the Sharks. We’d really like to think he has something better to do, but we and he know that he doesn’t.
Ignoring the fact that he’s a raging dickbag, what’s it been like on the ice having Evander Kane?
Kane’s off-ice history of sexual assault makes him an impossible player to cheer for but the on-ice results speak for themselves. With 7 goals and 12 points in 12 games, Kane has been the jolt of offense the Sharks expected when they traded for him and then some. They’d been looking for a Patrick Marleau replacement since the longest-tenured Shark signed in Toronto and at least on the ice they have one in Kane, another big fast winger who can score, kill penalties and fit in on just about any line.
Tomas Hertl has 10 points in his last 11. We’ve sort of been waiting for him to replicate what he looked like as a rookie. Is this it or just another hot streak?
Hertl’s talent level is always on display but the trouble with him over the past few seasons has been finding linemates he can click with. During the Sharks’ 2016 run to the Cup Final, those were Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski but a need to spread out the offense more in Marleau’s absence has meant that’s a line Peter DeBoer hasn’t had the luxury of putting together very often this year. Over the past dozen games, Hertl has slotted in with Logan Couture and Mikkel Boedker on a very potent second line and it looks like he’s found linemates he’s comfortable playing with again.
Is Thornton going to play in the playoffs? What does it mean for his future as a Shark?
No one really seems to have any idea including Thornton himself. But given the fact he played in the majority of last year’s first round loss to Edmonton while both his knees were suspended in Jell-O, it’s going to take a lot to keep Thornton out of the lineup in late April regardless of whether that’s the most medically prudent move at this stage of the 38-year-old’s career. Even if he doesn’t return this season, there’s no indication Thornton intends to retire over the summer so I’m sure he’ll be brought back on a one-year deal with a more modest salary than this year’s $8 million.
How far can the Sharks go in the playoffs? The Pacific is something of a mess…
Their underlying numbers are still fairly middling but the Sharks have been generating a lot more offense in the 2018 calendar year even without Joe Thornton and Joonas Donskoi for much of that time, and despite a once 2nd-ranked power play falling apart. If Thornton and Donskoi can be healthy in time for the playoffs, there’s no reason the Sharks can’t advance to the conference final. They match up against their own division as well as any team in the league. Of course they’re still the Sharks so a first round choke job against the Kings isn’t out of the question either.
Game #77 Preview