After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the San Jose Sharks:
The San Jose Sharks enter this season without one longtime forward but are optimistic they will still have another.
Joe Pavelski, who played 13 seasons for the Sharks and was captain for the past four, left as a free agent, signing a three-year contract with the Dallas Stars on July 1. Forwards Joonas Donskoi (Colorado Avalanche) and Gustav Nyquist (Columbus Blue Jackets) also signed elsewhere.
"You have the heart and the head, and you understand these decisions have to be made and they get made," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "... You love what Joe Pavelski brought to this organization for so many years. It's the reality of this business and this system."
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The Sharks remain optimistic that 40-year-old unrestricted free agent center Joe Thornton will play a 15th season for them.
"For me, I'm moving forward as if he's going to be in our lineup in September," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said July 18. "I saw him two days after our season ended in the gym working out. I think he's on record as saying he's going to play and still has gas left in the tank."
Video: SJS@STL, Gm3: Thornton quickly responds with second
The Sharks did re-sign defenseman Erik Karlsson to an eight-year contract June 17, two weeks before he could have become an unrestricted free agent, but lost defenseman Justin Braun (trade, Philadelphia Flyers) and Joakim Ryan (free agent, Los Angeles Kings).
"As far as hockey goes, I'm excited to continue the chase for the ultimate prize: the Stanley Cup," Karlsson said. "Last year was an unbelievable run but we didn't achieve what we set out to do. But the dedication I witnessed from my teammates, coaches, staff and organization showed me that we all have a great future ahead of us and that we are capable of fighting for that championship year in and year out."
Video: SJS@STL, Gm3: Karlsson wins it in OT with second goal
San Jose re-signed restricted free agent forwards Timo Meier (four-year contract, July 1) and Kevin Labanc (one-year contract, July 8), and unrestricted free agent defenseman Tim Heed (one-year contract, July 1).
Here is what the Sharks look like today:
Jonny Brodzinski, F: The 26-year-old forward, who signed a one-year contract July 2, had three points (two goals, one assist) in 13 games with the Los Angeles Kings last season and could be a bottom-six forward. ... Dalton Prout, D: The 29-year old defenseman signed a one-year contract July 2. He had two points (one goal, one assist) in 20 games with the Calgary Flames last season and can provide depth after the departures of Braun and Ryan.
Joe Pavelski, F: The 35-year-old, who scored 38 goals last season, is fourth in games played (963), second in goals (355) and third in assists (406) and points (761) in Sharks history. He scored at least 30 goals five times and had at least 60 points in the past eight full NHL seasons. ... Joonas Donskoi, F: The 27-year-old signed a four-year contract with the Avalanche on July 1. He had an NHL career-high 37 points (14 goals, 23 assists) in 80 games last season. ... Justin Braun, D: Traded to the Flyers on June 18 for two draft picks, the 32-year-old had 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 78 games and 154 points (24 goals, 130 assists) in 607 games in nine seasons with San Jose. ... Gustav Nyquist, F: The 29-year-old signed a four-year contract with the Blue Jackets on July 1. He had 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 19 games with San Jose after he was acquired in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 25, and 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games. ... Joakim Ryan, D: Signed a one-year contract with the Kings on July 1. The 26-year-old had seven assists in 44 regular-season games and one assist in 20 playoff games.
On the cusp
Jacob Middleton, D: The 23-year-old had one assist in three games with the Sharks and 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in 57 games with the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League last season. Selected in the seventh round (No. 210) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Middleton could see an increase in playing time with the Sharks having lost two of their top six defensemen from last season. ... Alexander True, F: The 22-year old led the Barracuda last season with 55 points (24 goals, 31 assists). He was signed as an undrafted free agent July 18, 2018. ... Dylan Gambrell, F: The forward, who turns 23 on Aug. 26, has no points in 11 NHL games but scored one goal in two playoff games last season. Selected in the second round (No. 60) of the 2016 NHL Draft, Gambrell was second on the Barracuda with 20 goals last season.
Video: SJS@STL, Gm6: Gambrell rifles home first NHL goal
What they still need
A veteran forward. Having lost Pavelski, Donskoi and Nyquist, and with Thornton undecided on his future, the Sharks could enter the season without four of their top 12 forwards from last season. Even if Brodzinski or players within the organization fill those spots, veteran depth is needed. San Jose also could be in the market for a backup goalie. Aaron Dell, who will be playing the final season of his contract, was 10-8-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and an .886 save percentage in 25 games (20 starts) behind Martin Jones last season.
Meier had an NHL career-high 66 points (30 goals, 36 assists) in 78 games last season. His point total was impressive considering he didn't play much on the first power-play unit. After the departure of Pavelski, Meier could be elevated to the top unit, bringing exposure to valuable forwards Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl and elite defensemen Brent Burns and Karlsson. Pavelski's absence also leaves a spot open in the top six, which could be filled by Labanc. -- Rob Reese
Video: STL@SJS, Gm1: Meier dekes to backhand for great goal
Timo Meier -- Logan Couture -- Kevin Labanc
Evander Kane -- Tomas Hertl -- Melker Karlsson
Marcus Sorensen -- Joe Thornton -- Dylan Gambrell
Jonny Brodzinski -- Barclay Goodrow -- Antti Suomela
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon -- Erik Karlsson
Radim Simek -- Tim Heed
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