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Tomas Hertl will be very important for San Jose next season

Aug 6, 2014, 10:50 PM EDT

Tomas Hertl Getty Images

When Tomas Hertl showed up last season for the San Jose Sharks, he was a breath of fresh air.

His youthful exuberance and ability to score highlight-reel goals gave the already potent Sharks offense another weapon. A knee injury at the hands (read: knees) of Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown cut his season short, but with 15 goals in 37 games he provided the kind of impact that helps a team feel good about the future.

The Sharks had enough confidence in Hertl’s game to buy out Martin Havlat, move Brent Burns back to defense from forward, and to not really sign anyone to replace either of them up front. While Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, and Logan Couture help make up an offensively frightening top-six with the forwards, it’s Hertl who figures to be the key.

Sound crazy? Not so much.

Hertl, while he was in the lineup, spent most of his time on a line with Thornton and Burns and was a dominant possession player (only Thornton and Pavelski were better amongst forwards). Keeping the puck and scoring a bunch of goals makes him invaluable.

With Burns now back on the blue line, Sharks coach Todd McLellan could create a Corsi nightmare for opponents by assembling a top line with Hertl, Thornton, and Pavelski together. Regardless of whether that happens or not, it’s Hertl that makes things happen for Thornton the set-up man.

With the Sharks offensive options thin outside of the top-six, having Hertl recreate what he did last season is vital for balance between the top two lines. If the goals evaporate, opponents will load up against Couture and Marleau’s line. Giving other teams fits defensively is what’s made the Sharks so good in the past and having Hertl pick up where he left off will only help that out further.

  1. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    And the challenge is that with his small size, he may well be a “take out target” once again.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:30 AM

      What is with the thumbs down, without bothering to refute? Lazy.

      So let me flesh it out. Dustin Brown is a cheap shot, “skilled” take out artist. He succeeded last year. Has succeeded before. Guys with declining skills try and compete, however they can, which is grevious.

      And guys will this season.

      I’m pointing out the flaw in planning on a guy to have big results who may well be a target.

      Don’t get what is so hard to get with this.

      • sjsblitz - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:57 AM

        All rookies are small compared to most players though. As long as he isnt RNH sized, he’ll be ok

      • 19to77 - Aug 7, 2014 at 1:29 AM

        I imagine the thumbs down are regarding the statement that he’s a small guy. Hertl’s 6’2, 210 pounds, so I don’t know where you’re coming from.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        You are correct – I remembered Dustin Brown hits wrong, and did not take the time to research.

        DUMB post. Wish I could erase.

      • rauhj - Aug 7, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        EndUser,
        I have no idea why so many thumbs down. You’re making a good point and there’s a lot of idiots who are indeed lazy and play whack-a-mole with the thumbs up/thumbs down icons rather than discuss the topic at hand. Damn anonymous trolls.

    • sjsharks86 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:04 AM

      Yeah its for you not knowing what you’re talking about, Hertl isn’t small by any stretch of the imagination, although when he’s lining up next to guys like Jumbo & Burnzie its an easy mistake to make. Also trying to appeal to our hate of Dustin Brown doesn’t get you off the hook.

      • rauhj - Aug 7, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        He does know what he’s talking about, just made an admitted error about Hertl’s size. The overall point is spot on. As for whether it actually happens, only time will tell (don’t get me started on the cliches or I’ll run you into the ground)

  2. pantherpro - Aug 7, 2014 at 1:10 AM

    Hertl will be mvp

    • pantherpro - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      LA you suck!

  3. sjrulz17 - Aug 7, 2014 at 1:24 AM

    You think Nieto is gonna fill that hole on marleau and coutures line or they’ll throw wingels in there. Wingels should stay on the third line because that’s a great place for him to average 40 points.

    • faulkingallstar - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:32 PM

      ya nieto will start on the 2nd line, he was great with marleau and couture in the playoffs. here are my lines:
      Hertl-Thornton-Pavelski
      Marleau-Couture-Nieto
      Torres-Sheppard-Wingels
      Kennedy-Desjardains-Brown/Scott

      Vlasic-Burns
      Irwin-Braun
      Demers-Mueller/Hannan

      Stalock
      Niemi

  4. desertfan - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:29 AM

    Things are looking good in SJ!!!

  5. jefsuz - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    I’m so proud of Dustin Brown! He’s my hero!!! Ha ha ha. Go Kings!!
    Oh by the way. Stanley Cup Champs!!! Again! Sharks are once again losers!

    • wutangwild - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      wonder who upvoted this one…

      • sjsharks01 - Aug 10, 2014 at 7:15 PM

        Himself, his mommy, his daddy, his sissy, his boyfriend, his grampy and granny LOL

    • skr213 - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      LA fans’ desperate need to troll every Sharks article is just pathetic. We get it – you guys beat us and won the Cup. Congrats. The need to constantly drive that point reveals the average age of LA fans on this site.

      • nightfireop - Aug 8, 2014 at 2:26 AM

        hey at least we celebrate AFTER we close out 4 teams….not start celebrating after winning only 3 games in a row. that’s what sharks fans did, that’s what the sharks players did, and that’s why joe and crew went into the 4th game thinking that they had “3 cracks at it” (boyle is a liar, of COURSE they thought they had 3 cracks, how else do you explain such pitiful performance in game 5)….once they failed game 5, the fear settled in and the rest is history.

      • bubbas83 - Aug 8, 2014 at 3:23 AM

        Do you mean 4 cracks? I know it’s hard for kids that idolize Eric Cartman to do some basic math, but stay in school and maybe you’ll get the hang of it.

      • nightfireop - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        bubbas, watch dan boyle’s interview, he said: 3 cracks. i dunno where you’re getting 4 from.

        http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2014/04/27/sharks-boyle-did-we-go-out-there-and-think-we-have-three-cracks-at-this/

        yes, he said THREE….not the “four”
        i’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that either you didn’t get the chance to watch that interview or you simply forgot about it.

      • nightfireop - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        although i would say that the interview was after game 5, whereas they started to feel over-confident by game 4. so fair enough, a typo, but it doesn’t take away the fact that sharks fans and sharks players were already celebrating before they actually close out a team; ANY team, doesn’t even have to be us.

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