Three Questions Sharks Must Answer in Training Camp Before NHL Season

Like with the start of every training camp, the Sharks have some questions that need answering before the new campaign gets underway at the beginning of October. 

Here's a look at just a couple things that need solving over the next couple of weeks:

How healthy will the Sharks' blue line be come opening night?

Injuries hit San Jose's d-corps hard last season, with Erik Karlsson going in and out of the lineup with a groin injury and Radim Simek being sidelined the whole second half of the season with a knee injury. The hope is that both players will be back in the lineup and healthy to start the season -- although that still remains to be seen.

Sharks' general manager Doug Wilson told the media last Friday that Karlsson is expected to participate at the start of training camp, while Simek is still building up strength in his injured knee ahead of the season-opener on October 2. San Jose's defense took noticeable hits last season when each skater was out of the lineup, so getting both Karlsson and Simek back at full strength will be huge.

Keeping that in mind, it isn't likely we'll see a whole lot from either skater during the preseason.

Which will make trying to figure out what the defensive pairings will be even more interesting, but that's a story for another day.

Does San Jose really have enough weapons on offense to fill the void left by free agency?

There had been some speculation that Wilson would acquire a forward towards the end of the offseason to fill in the offensive void left by the departures of Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi, and Gustav Nyquist. For the time being, however, it appears the Sharks are going all-in on giving some of their younger players a chance to fill those roles.

Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc have been mentioned a ton in this conversation -- especially after they both had upward-trending seasons and then got inked to new deals over the summer -- but those are just two skaters San Jose is looking to for offensive help.

After a season of bouncing between the NHL and AHL, Dylan Gambrell has the opportunity to become a regular starter. Marcus Sorensen will also be tasked with continuing to grow following a solid 2018-19 campaign skating primarily alongside Joe Thornton. Plus, younger players such as Ivan Chekhovich will be given the opportunity to compete for a roster spot.

[RELATED: How Karlsson can fill scoring void]

Of course, the Sharks may decide to make a move after the season starts if they're still lacking offensive firepower. For the time being, however, it looks like San Jose is looking to its young guns to pick up the slack.

What can we expect from the goaltending this season?

It's pretty fair to assume fans will be on the edge of their seats for Martin Jones' first start, hoping he doesn't let the puck get by him in the first minute of the game. He did that quite a bit last season, after all. And his backup, Aaron Dell, didn't always fair much better. 

Even though Jones turned his game around during last season's playoff run, he will likely be under the microscope pretty early on, especially if he looks shaky during preseason play. While Jones didn't always have the support from the defense in front of him last season, there's still a need for him to be on his A-game early on, even as early as in training camp. 

Copyright CSNBY - CSN BAY
Contact Us