From strong Stanley Cup contenders in 2018/19 to bottom of the Western Conference in 2020: the San Jose Sharks have sunk like a rock.
Taking on the hefty contract of Erik Karlsson and subsequently losing much of the team’s strength in depth has further exposed the declining state of goaltending.
However, the team is still bustling with competitive talent and with a few tweaks, the Sharks could be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender in NHL 20.
In this NHL 20 team guide, you can find all of the players on the San Jose Sharks roster, the best Sharks prospects, upcoming picks, and where the team and prospect pool needs improving.
The latest roster at the time (31 March Roster) was used for this guide.
Logan Couture, Center, 86 OVR
Position: Playmaker Center
Height/Weight: 185cm, 93kg
Best Stats: 90 Deking, Speed, Acceleration, Agility
Despite the Sharks struggling to perform from the off, Logan Couture was stringing together a fairly decent season, which was unfortunately interrupted by injury.
Having played 52 games up to the lockdown, Couture scored 16 goals, 39 points, and held an admirable neutral plus-minus rating.
In NHL 20, Couture’s strengths are in his puck skills and skating, with the center boasting 90 deking, 89 hand-eye, 89 passing, 89 puck control, 90 acceleration, 90 agility, and 90 speed.
Currently the team’s highest-rated center, Couture is pivotal to the offence, with his 88 defensive awareness, 87 stick checking, and 89 durability also making him a strong defensive presence.
Erik Karlsson, Defenseman. 90 OVR
Position: Offensive Defenseman
Height/Weight: 183cm, 87kg
Best Stats: 95 Deking, Passing, Puck Control
After a relatively tepid first season in San Jose, Erik Karlsson kept his form following the eight-year deal that made the former Ottawa Senators captain the highest-paid defenseman in NHL history.
Through 56 games played up to the lockdown, the Swede notched six goals and 40 points to stand as the fourth-highest scorer of the Sharks.
Karlsson has some of the highest puck skills ratings in the game as well as the best speed score of any defenseman in NHL 20.
The offensive defenseman totes lofty ratings of 95 deking, 94 hand-eye, 95 passing, 95 puck control, 92 agility, 92 speed, 92 acceleration, 94 offensive awareness, and 92 defensive awareness.
Martin Jones, Goaltender, 82 OVR
Position: Hybrid Goaltender
Height/Weight: 193cm, 88kg
Best Stats: 90 Speed, 88 Agility, 86 Five Hole
What started as a tremendous indirect trade from the rival Kings, facilitated by the Boston Bruins, Martin Jones has gradually declined in his performances since 2015/16.
While still a tremendous competitor in the postseason, up until the 2019 playoffs, Jones’ regular season displays have sunk significantly over the last couple of years, landing 17 wins in 41 games with a .896 save percentage in 2019/20.
Jones does boast some favourable attributes in NHL 20, though, with his 88 agility, 90 speed, 86 vision, and 193cm frame coming in handy during games.
However, with a rating of 82 OVR, an 80 for poise, 85 for rebound control, and 85 for recover, Jones is best used as a back-up goaltender.
NHL 20 San Jose Sharks Roster
From the latest update, 31 March Online Roster, this is how the San Jose Sharks first lines start.
Of course, with players like Erik Karlsson and Marc-Édouard Vlasic, the top defensive pairing could be much better, but the Sharks severely lack depth.
Evander Kane (85) – Logan Couture (86) – Kevin Labanc (82)
Radim Simek (77) – Brent Burns (89)
Aaron Dell (82)
|Logan Couture||86||30||Center||Playmaker||Left||90 Deking, 90 Speed, 90 Acceleration|
|Tomas Hertl||85||25||Center||Sniper||Left||90 Deking, 89 Puck Control, 89 Offensive Awareness|
|Joe Thornton||83||40||Center||Playmaker||Left||90 Poise, 90 Balance, 90 Strength|
|Antti Suomela||77||25||Center||Two-Way||Left||85 Wrist Shot Power, 85 Speed, 85 Durability|
|Melker Karlsson||77||29||Center||Two-Way||Right||88 Durability, 87 Acceleration, 87 Agility|
|Dylan Gambrell||76||23||Center||Two-Way||Right||85 Durability, 85 Agility, 84 Speed|
|Noah Gregor||74||21||Center||Two-Way||Left||85 Durability, 84 Wrist Shot Power, 84 Agility|
|Alexander True||72||22||Center||Two-Way||Left||86 Strength, 86 Balance, 85 Durability|
|Joel Kellman||71||25||Center||Playmaker||Left||83 Speed, 82 Passing, 82 Offensive Awareness|
|Evander Kane||85||28||Left Wing||Power Forward||Left||89 Strength, 89 Agility, 89 Speed|
|Kevin Labanc||82||23||Left Wing||Two-Way||Right||90 Durability, 87 Speed, 87 Agility|
|Marcus Sorensen||79||27||Left Wing||Sniper||Left||89 Durability, 87 Speed, 87 Acceleration|
|Timo Meier||85||22||Right Wing||Power Forward||Left||89 Offensive Awareness, 88 Body Checking, 88 Passing|
|Stefan Noesen||78||26||Right Wing||Two-Way||Right||86 Slap Shot Power, 86 Wrist Shot Power, 85 Stick Checking|
|Erik Karlsson||90||29||Defenseman||Offensive||Right||95 Passing, 95 Deking, 95 Puck Control|
|Brent Burns||89||34||Defenseman||Offensive||Right||93 Endurance, 92 Offensive Awareness, 92 Wrist Shot Power|
|Marc-Édouard Vlasic||85||32||Defenseman||Defensive||Left||92 Stick Checking, 91 Endurance, 90 Shot Blocking|
|Tim Heed||78||28||Defenseman||Offensive||Right||90 Discipline, 87 Acceleration, 87 Wrist Shot Power|
|Mario Ferraro||78||20||Defenseman||Two-Way||Left||86 Slap Shot Power, 86 Agility, 86 Speed|
|Radim Simek||77||26||Defenseman||Two-Way||Left||87 Endurance, 85 Wrist Shot Power, 85 Slap Shot Power|
|Dalton Prout||74||29||Defenseman||Defensive||Right||89 Body Checking, 89 Aggressiveness, 88 Strength|
|Martin Jones||82||29||Goaltender||Hybrid||Left||90 Speed, 88 Agility, 86 Five Hole|
|Aaron Dell||82||30||Goaltender||Hybrid||Left||88 Recover, 87 Rebound Control, 87 Speed|
The San Jose Sharks are weak in defensive depth, on both wings, and particularly in net, all while having very little cap space.
Perhaps the best way to start is to trade away Jones’ hefty contract for a loss – in terms of trade value – and then try to either bring in a decent starting goaltender or one of the best young goaltenders so that there’s at least some payoff for playing a low-rated netminder.
You’ll either have to choose to push for the Stanley Cup straight away, improving where possible with the resources at hand. Or, tear it up and shed some of the larger contracts in exchange for high picks over the next couple of years and good-value depth skaters.
Ryan Merkley, Defenseman, 66 OVR
Position: Offensive Defenseman
Potential: Elite med
Ryan Merkley is, by far, the best player coming through the system in San Jose and isn’t too many years away from breaking into the NHL lines.
The right-shot offensive defenseman is still only rated 66 OVR at the start of the season in NHL 20. Still, given Merkley’s Elite med potential and the overall ratings of San Jose’s current top-six defensemen and seventh defenseman, the teenage Canadian could be in the NHL lines for the start of the 2020/21 campaign.
NHL 20 San Jose Sharks Top Prospects
The San Jose Sharks do have some talented prospects coming through, with the likes of Ivan Chekhovic, Sasha Chmelevski, Artemi Knyazev, and Jérémy Roy potentially featuring on the lower lines in the future.
However, only Ryan Merkley presents himself as a potentially important piece to the franchise.
|Ryan Merkley||66||Elite med||19||Defenseman||Offensive||87 Agility, 87 Acceleration, 87 Speed|
|Ivan Chekhovic||67||Top 6 med||20||Center||Sniper||85 Durability, 84 Agility, 84 Speed|
|Sasha Chmelevski||67||Top 6 med||20||Center||Two-Way||85 Durability, 85 Slap Shot Power, 85 Wrist Shot Power|
|Artemi Knyazev||61||Top 4 med||18||Defenseman||Two-Way||85 Durability, 83 Wrist Shot Power, 83 Slap Shot Power|
|Jérémy Roy||73||Top 4 med||22||Defenseman||Offensive||85 Discipline, 85 Slap Shot Power, 85 Speed|
|Jonathan Dahlén||65||Top 6 low||21||Center||Sniper||85 Durability, 84 Slap Shot Power, 83 Speed|
|Zach Gallant||66||Top 9 med||20||Center||Two-Way||85 Durability, 84 Wrist Shot Power, 84 Slap Shot Power|
|Vladislav Kotkov||67||Top 9 med||19||Left Wing||Two-Way||85 Discipline, 85 Durability, 84 Slap Shot Power|
|Danil Yurtaikin||76||Top 9 med||22||Right Wing||Sniper||88 Speed, 88 Agility, 88 Acceleration|
|Zachary Émond||63||Fringe Starter low||19||Goaltender||Hybrid||85 Durability, 82 Agility, 82 Speed|
San Jose Sharks’ upcoming draft picks:
- 2020 Draft Picks: 1st (TBL), 2nd (COL), 2nd (SJS), 5th (OTT), 7th (PIT), 7th (WSH)
- 2021 Draft Picks: 1st (SJS), 3rd (SJS), 3rd (PIT), 3rd (WSH), 4th (SJS), 5th (SJS), 6th (SJS), 7th (SJS)
- 2022 Draft Picks: 1st (SJS), 2nd (SJS), 3rd (SJS), 4th (SJS), 5th (SJS), 6th (SJS), 7th (SJS)
Having traded away their now very valuable 2020 first-round pick, the Sharks have what are basically three second-round picks – due to the strength of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
For this team, bringing in some talent on the wings is a necessity. The team’s in need of some hope in net in the future, but you can often find strong goaltending prospects in the later rounds.
If you’re going down the rebuild route, the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft is a great year to target. The 2021 NHL Draft is also quite strong, but there are franchise-altering talents throughout the top-ten of the 2020 selection.
In NHL 20, a few tweaks and better use of the cap can give the Sharks a very strong shot at the Stanley Cup in the first season. To pull this off, though, you may have to sell several early picks and effectively commit to going all-in on getting the franchise its first Cup.
However, there’s equal reasoning to tear up much of the team, keep core players like Meier, Hertl, Kane, Couture, Vlasic, or Burns, play the next couple of free agencies, and work some trades to bring in decent depth and a wild card or two.
Of course, a getting in a starter-worthy goaltender – for now, or the near future – is the first job for either course of action.
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