With Alexander Semin signing with the Carolina Hurricanes and Rick Nash being traded to the New York Rangers, the San Jose Sharks are running out of options to upgrade their forwards. There are several reasons the focus remains there rather than the blue line.
Despite having seven forwards with NHL experience behind the 11 on the official NHL roster, only two have been starters and at this point. They have only signed tenders and while very likely to be in camp, the remote possibility remains the team could start the season with two players who have under 60 NHL games.
Moreover, their biggest need appears to be a top-six forward. The team suffered greatly from injuries to its scoring forwards last season and had only four forwards score more than one point in the five-game playoff series.
San Jose has replaced the six depth forwards no longer on their payroll with one. But adding one top-six forward pushes one down to what is then a great third line. The Sharks would still have a good fourth line and be stocked with minor league talent with NHL experience to fill the gaps.
But the biggest reason that their focus is on improving the forwards is the Sharks moved to a stronger blue line in 2011-12 than the previous two seasons, but won just one playoff game rather than make the conference finals.
Yet so far this summer, that stronger unit has gotten even better. Here is a look at where each player projects on the depth chart and who they should be paired with.