NASHVILLE — The Sharks are carrying a four-game losing streak into Tuesday’s game against the Nashville Predators.
Not surprisingly, with the Sharks allowing 18 goals on a manned net in regulation time during their slide, goaltending remains a hot topic among Sharks fans.
Entering Monday, the Sharks’ team save percentage was .886, 28th in the NHL, just ahead of New Jersey (.882), Los Angeles (.881) and Detroit (.877). Their goals against average was 3.39, 29th in the league.
With that, let’s open up the mailbag.
It seems to me that a heavy workload results in a decrease in performance for (Martin) Jones in net. Are you aware of any particular reason why (Sharks coach Pete) DeBoer would ride Jones so hard? Jones has the third most time in net in the NHL since Nov. 1. Including starts in (back-to-back) games (once) in that time. (@BleedingTeal)
Pete DeBoer started Martin Jones in seven consecutive games from Nov. 5-19. When asked last month if he was just riding the hot hand at the time, DeBoer said that Aaron Dell really hadn’t provided many reasons to play him more often.
I don’t think that Dell is in the doghouse right now, so I would expect him to see a few more starts in December and January than the three he had in November. When Dell plays well, it pushes Jones to be better. As for reasons why DeBoer started Jones back-to-back times in games against L.A, and Arizona last month, Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Florida Panthers not withstanding, Jones has historically been very good under those circumstances with a 10-2-3 record on the second half of back-to-back games on consecutive days. I do think that Dell will start against the Predators.
How much worse does Martin Jones have to play before he isn’t the No. 1? To be clear, Dell isn’t the answer either. (@JimB0143)
Then it would appear the only answer is to make a trade, because there’s no Jordan Binnington on the Sharks’ farm ready for a call-up (at least not at the moment). While the Sharks might be able to deal Dell, trading Jones, with his cap hit and the amount of term he has left (four more years at a $5.75 AAV) might be difficult to do before the deadline. Just my opinion, but I don’t think anything happens before the offseason.
What is the Sharks biggest need? Wing? Goalie? (@trivialpershoot)
When do you think the Sharks should make a deal and for what, and could there be multiple moves? (@Matt63655086)
The easiest — and least expensive — option at the moment for general manager Doug Wilson would be to add an experienced depth forward, preferably one with some speed who can kill penalties. If he can handle himself in an altercation, all the better. Acquiring Taylor Hall is unrealistic for a variety of reasons, but I wonder what the price tag might be for another New Jersey Devil. Wayne Simmonds is another player on an expiring contract whose cap hit decreases with each passing day. He’s a right shot, and I think he’d be a fit with how DeBoer wants his wingers to play.
The Sharks need their goalies to be more consistent, no question. But I think that’s an area that more likely be addressed in the off-season than before this year’s trade deadline.
The Sharks are committed, at least for the time being, of giving some of their young forwards chances to play in the NHL. Right now it’s Noah Gregor. Tuesday, Lean Bergmann could get another chance to play. In other words, I would not expect multiple trades.
We need help in a bad way. Any chance a package (as much as it pains me to name him here) including Timo (Meier) to New Jersey for Hall could work? (@brooksie41)
Oh, I think the Devils would do that deal in a nanosecond. Trade a player who you have little chance of resigning for one that scored 30 goals last season and who in the first year of a reasonable four-year deal? Where does Ray Shero sign up?
In all seriousness, as much as the Sharks could use more scoring punch up front, I do not see the Sharks and Devils working something out. The Sharks do not want to part with their top prospects, or their 2021 first round draft pick, for a player who is likely a rental. Plus Hall is a left winger, and their need is on the right side. Salary cap issues come into play as well.
Second best kill in the league and second worse (goals against). My beer league experience points to a lack of 5 on 5 defensemen with too much wheeling. Are the boys forcing a style of play that doesn’t quite fit the pieces right now? (@kenzeng)
I’m not sure a lack of those type of defensemen is a major issue. For players like Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson to be at their best, you have to give them the freedom to be creative. There is definite risk-reward, but that’s something the Sharks are willing to live with. It would seem that the irritation that Radim Simek felt in his knee affected his play in recent games. When he was healthy, he made a positive difference in that regard. All that said, their 45-0-1 record over the last two seasons when they allow two or fewer goals provides a pretty distinguishable blueprint for what makes this team successful. Forwards, too, have to do their part as well when it comes to defending hard in their own zone.
There have been some pretty pointed comments coming out of the dressing room the past few nights. (Jones calling out wingers, Kane saying team has been too relaxed.). It’s starting to feel like the culture has gone sour. Any truth to that? (@ToddtoTahoe)
Jones was asked Saturday after the loss to Tampa Bay what he saw as far as the skaters in front of him, and about his counterpart, Andrei Vasilevskiy, making 37 saves (if that was what you were referring to). “He played well. I don’t think we made it overly tough on him. We’ve got to find a way to get to the net a little better, get some more chances on the inside.”
Jones has said similar things in the past, and Kane is usually pretty honest in his evaluations. Those guys have earned the right to speak their mind, so I don’t see it as being a team culture issue or a sign of discord. Nobody’s happy when they’re losing.