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30 in 30

Will new look on bench equal success for Sharks?

Sunday, 08.26.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The San Jose Sharks went to the Western Conference Finals in 2010 and 2011, and in between saw a number of their top players skate in the 2010 Olympics. That's a lot of hockey in a short span, and Sharks general manager Doug Wilson believes that was one factor for the team's slide to seventh in the Western Conference last season and loss in the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But rather than dwell on last season's struggles, Wilson is embracing the positives. Could a longer summer actually be a good thing?

"Going to the final four two years in a row and the Olympics thrown in, maybe if [players] got rest this summer and rehabbed, they come back healthy and in great shape, it may be a good thing out of a bad situation," Wilson told NHL.com.

To help improve his team's situation for the 2012-13 season, Wilson chose to reshape the team's identity.

Hertl leads Sharks' batch of prospects

Sunday, 08.26.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson believes prospects will make it known to the team when they're ready for the NHL. Rushing young players to the big club just isn't something he finds necessary.

"We don't over-promote our young players," Wilson told NHL.com. "We want them to earn their opportunities."

The Sharks have picked in the first round just twice since 2007 as the team has gone about building a Stanley Cup contender. And despite not picking until the latter stages of rounds due to their playoff success, San Jose has managed to find prospect depth at defense and goaltending.

Here's a look at the Sharks' 10 best prospects:

1. Tomas Hertl, C: The Sharks chose the Czech-born forward with the 17th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft after watching him score 25 points in 38 games with Slavia in the top Czech league, earning him the league Rookie of the Year award. The 6-foot-2, 198-pounder also had five points in six games for the Czech Republic at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Thornton, Havlat among questions for Sharks

Sunday, 08.26.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

It's not often a conversation about the top teams in the Western Conference each season doesn't include the San Jose Sharks.

They certainly were in the discussion last season, with two strong forward lines, a mobile defense and a goalie with a Stanley Cup ring. However, inconsistencies and injuries plagued them and it was a scramble for the Sharks to make the playoffs as the seventh seed.

They return most of that same group intact and healthy to start the 2012-13 season. Here are six questions that go along with that roster.

Healthy Havlat aims to produce for Sharks

Sunday, 08.26.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Martin Havlat
Right Wing - SJS
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 20 | PTS: 27
SOG: 96 | +/-: 10

Doug Wilson has been around the NHL for a long time, from his 16 years as a player to the last nine as general manager of the San Jose Sharks, and thought he'd seen just about everything.

And then came the third period of the Sharks' game Dec. 17 against the Edmonton Oilers. Martin Havlat, one of the team's biggest offseason additions, tore his hamstring hopping over the boards to get on the ice.

The injury sidelined Havlat three months, and put a huge crimp in the Sharks' season.

"I haven't seen one like that in many years," Wilson told NHL.com.

The Sharks acquired Havlat a week after sending Devin Setoguchi to the Minnesota Wild as part of the deal for Brent Burns. Wilson believed he had to upgrade his team's speed after losing Setoguchi, and traded Dany Heatley to the Wild for Havlat.

Sharks have stars but need more depth in lineup

Sunday, 08.26.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

General manager Doug Wilson has rarely failed to be bold while trying to deliver a Stanley Cup to San Jose. He built the core of a Cup contender around Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle, and has continued in recent seasons to search for the final, elusive piece to earn the Sharks a title.

Wilson brought in Martin Havlat and Brent Burns last summer, but Havlat missed much of the season because of injury and the Sharks had an atypically tough time qualifying for the playoffs before losing to St. Louis in the first round. The Sharks had 96 points -- their worst regular season in eight years.

This offseason Wilson traded for the rights to Brad Stuart and quickly signed him to a contract. The move bolstered what might be the League’s deepest defense corps (and subsequently weakened one of the other top contenders in the Western Conference).

Islanders looking for more consistency this season

Saturday, 08.25.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Expectations were high for the New York Islanders one year ago. They were coming off a strong second half of the 2010-11 season and appeared to be on the verge of bigger and better things.

Instead, the 2011-12 campaign provided more anguish. The Isles stumbled through the month of November -- they won four of 13 games and were shut out four times -- and never fully recovered. They ended up finishing in the bottom five of the NHL standings for a fifth straight year.

"I think consistency had a big part in that," Isles coach Jack Capuano told NHL.com regarding the shortcomings last season. "I thought that times throughout the year, our battle level was high and our will to compete was high, but special teams went through a little bit of a funk. We just didn't generate the offense like we did in the second half of the year.

"It's about coming to the rink every day to get better. We talk about these things and the intangibles for what it's going to take for our team to get to the postseason. Some of our younger players now I think are at that point now where I think they're going to take that next step."

Replacing Parenteau a key question for Islanders

Saturday, 08.25.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The New York Islanders insisted one year ago that the rebuilding process was over. Instead, they finished in the bottom five for a fifth straight season.

From a 2-0 loss on opening night to a 7-3 defeat at Columbus on the final day of the season, the Islanders never came close to meeting the expectations from management, the coaching staff, and a fan base that hasn't celebrated a playoff series victory in 19 years.

So, what must the Islanders do to get back to the postseason and beyond the first round? Here are six questions facing the club:

1. Will Ryan Strome play in the NHL this season? -- The Isles' top pick from 2011 enjoyed another solid season in the Ontario Hockey League and could be ready for prime time. Strome, however, just turned 19 in July and is unable to play for Bridgeport in the American Hockey League, which means New York or Niagara again this season. It will be a tough call for Isles' brass, who don't want to hinder Strome's development.

Boyes looks to rediscover All-Star form on Island

Saturday, 08.25.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Brad Boyes
Right Wing - NYI
GOALS: 8 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 23
SOG: 100 | +/-: 2

Three seasons have passed since Brad Boyes last reached the 30-goal plateau. If he's ever going to return to All-Star form, it will likely come in 2012-13 as a member of the New York Islanders.

Boyes, who scored 76 goals over two campaigns with the St. Louis Blues from 2007-09, scored just eight times in 65 games with the Buffalo Sabres this past season. But on the opening day of free agency, the Isles signed Boyes to a 1-year, $1 million deal to help replace the void left by PA Parenteau, who was signed by Colorado that same afternoon.

For now, it appears Boyes -- who turned 30 in April -- will be penciled in to replace Parenteau on New York's top line alongside John Tavares -- one of the game's evolving superstars -- and Matt Moulson, who reached the 30-goal plateau for a third straight season in 2011-12. Indeed, it's a golden opportunity for Boyes to regain that scoring touch he had with the Blues.

Strome steps up among Islanders prospects

Saturday, 08.25.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The New York Islanders have struggled mightily in recent years, as they've entered each of the last five drafts with a lottery pick and haven't qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2007.

However, there is hope Islanders Country as general manager Garth Snow continues to stockpile young talent with the idea of building an annual Stanley Cup contender. He added another valuable piece at the 2012 NHL Draft in June, selecting defenseman Griffin Reinhart with the No. 4 selection. Reinhart became the first of seven consecutive blueliners selected by the Isles on draft weekend.

"It really wasn't a protocol set out at the start of the weekend," head amateur scout Trent Klatt told the team's Web site after the draft. "This particular draft was very heavy-laden defensemen. As it worked out, as names were crossed off, it fell into place that's the type of players we were going to take."

Reinhart will receive the opportunity to play for the Islanders out of training camp, as will a few other prospects. Those who don't make the club will certainly have an impact on the Islanders in the near future.

Here's a look at the Islanders' top prospects.

Islanders hope youngsters are ready for lineup

Saturday, 08.25.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Two seasons ago the New York Islanders scored plenty of goals but their goaltending was a mess. Last season, some of the young offensive talents regressed and while Evgeni Nabokov stabilized the goaltending, the defense in front of him remained lacking and the Islanders didn't make much progress reducing their goals allowed.

The future for New York remains John Tavares and a collection of other young talents, but the Islanders need some of his supporting cast to improve in order to take a step forward this season. PA Parenteau looked like he might be doing just that after a fruitful season next to Tavares, but he's now with the Colorado Avalanche after signing a four-year, $16 million deal.

To replace Parenteau's offense, the Islanders added Brad Boyes in a low-risk signing -- and will be hoping  Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo, Michael Graber and David Ullstrom find a consistent level of production. Lubomir Visnovsky and Matt Carkner were added to bolster the defense depth, while several young rearguards could have an impact this season.

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