Jul 28, 2012, 1:43 PM EDT
From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.
43-29-10, 96 points, second in the Pacific Division, seventh in the Western Conference. Lost to St. Louis (4-1) in the conference quarterfinals.
First round, 17th overall — Tomas Hertl (Slavia, Czech Republic)
Despite a disappointing 2011-12 campaign and the subsequent questioning of Todd McLellan’s and Doug Wilson’s job security, the Sharks went largely unchanged. For some, that was an odd decision given San Jose posted its lowest point total in six seasons.
Wilson’s lone noteworthy acquisitions were defenseman Brad Stuart (who returned to the Bay Area to play in a top-four role) and Adam Burish, brought aboard to add more sandpaper to the lineup (Burish wasted no time confirming he’d add abrasiveness.) The Sharks signed steady defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to a five-year extension and re-upped with TJ Galiardi, but lost bottom-six forwards Daniel Winnik and Torrey Mitchell to free agency.
The most noteworthy changes occurred behind the bench, where Hockey Hall of Famer Larry Robinson and ex-Caps assistant Jim Johnson came aboard as McLellan’s right-hand men. Robinson’s presence looms large, given he’s won a Stanley Cup as a head coach (and lost a Cup finals as well) — but while it might look like he’s a coach-in-waiting should McLellan get fired, Big Bird insisted he’s not there to take McLellan’s job.
Robinson’s job, one would assume, is to fix San Jose’s penalty kill. The Sharks were awful while shorthanded a season ago, finishing 29th in the NHL on the PK (76.9 percent).
One thing to watch will be how Wilson treats his roster as the start of the season draws near. He’s got a history of shaking things up (see: Dany Heatley, Brent Burns, Martin Havlat) and has been uncharacteristically silent on the trade front…so far.
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