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Pacific Preview: San Jose Sharks are fully in tank mode following Erik Karlsson trade

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Photo credit:Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
6 months ago
From one bad California team to another bad California team. 
We looked at the Anaheim Ducks last time, so now let’s look at the San Jose Sharks, who they’ll be batting for last place in the Pacific Division. 

San Jose’s 2022-23 season:

Record: 22-44-16 (60 points)
Goals For: 234 (25th of 32)
Goals Against: 321 (30th of 32)
The Sharks had among their worst seasons in team history in 2022-23, and that’s despite having the Norris Trophy winner score 100 points. Come trade deadline time, the Sharks were nowhere near a playoff spot and they traded away one of their top forwards, Timo Meier, to the New Jersey Devils for a package of prospects and draft picks. 
They went 22-44-16 and finished with the fourth-worst record in the league. Like Anaheim, they missed out on the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, settling for Willi Smith (no, not the one from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) with the fourth overall selection.

San Jose’s off-season:

Notable Additions: Mikael Granlund, Anthony Duclair, Mike Hoffman, Filip Zadina. 
Notable Subtractions: Erik Karlsson, James Reimer, Noah Gregor, Steven Lorentz. 
The Sharks capitalized on Karlsson’s huge season and traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a first-round pick, Mikael Grandlund, Jan Rutta, and Mike Hoffman, a fairly underwhelming return. They retained $1.5 million over the remaining four years of Karlsson’s contract but managed to clear they cleared out quite a bit of salary for their rebuild, which is ultimately what this trade was about. 
The Sharks made a few other additions over the course of the off-season as well. They acquired Anthony Duclair from the Florida Panthers and signed Filip Zadina in free agency. Duclair is coming off of an injury-riddled 2022-23 season but scored 31 goals in 2021-22 while Zadina has upside from being selected with the sixth-overall pick in the 2018 draft.

San Jose’s current outlook:

It’s not very good. The Sharks were as bad as they were last year with Karlsson scoring like it was the 1980s. With him gone, they’ll surely take a step back and could be the front-runner for the worst record in the league. 
It’ll be interesting to see what the Sharks do ahead of the trade deadline. It’s difficult to imagine they’ll be able to move any of their remaining huge contracts, as Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Logan Couture, and Tomas Hertl are too expensive to trade in-season. That said, they have a handful of soon-to-be free agents like Hoffman, Duclair, and Kevin Labanc who could draw interest.

If you enjoy my content, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. They still have the coolest jerseys in the league, though.

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