San Jose Sharks: Top 5 Reasons to Keep Core Intact

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San Jose Sharks: Top 5 Reasons to Keep Core Intact
Rich Lam/Getty Images
The San Jose Sharks took a major step back after changing two players from its core last summer

The prevailing attitude among followers of the San Jose Sharks (fans and media) is that they need major change.

The Sharks seem to be headed in the wrong direction. They were merely .500 in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, finished with their worst regular season since 2003 and had the quickest playoff departure in franchise history.

But changing the core does not guarantee changing the results.

Thus far, my player report cards have covered five core players: Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle, Antti Niemi, Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau. Only one player in that group was deemed untouchable, but only one was deemed necessary to move.

Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Ryane Clowe are certainly also core Sharks. Martin Havlat and Douglas Murray could be considered core players, but are left out intentionally: Havlat has not been an important piece in San Jose, while Murray is an asset on only one end of the ice and presumed to be on the decline given his age and physical play.

Starting with the most important of the five reasons to keep most or all of the Sharks core intact...

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