Something needs to change in San Jose, and the trade deadline seems like the most opportune time to shake things up for the Sharks.
San Jose is currently on the bubble of the Western Conference playoffs, which is a far cry from their 7-0-0 start to the season.
Last season's biggest weakness is now the team's biggest strength, as the defense has been superb in a turn-around year. However, the offense that the team has always leaned on has been inconsistent and in the middle of a concerning drought.
GM Doug Wilson is at a crossroads with this team, and many changes are expected before April 3.
Here are the areas that Wilson will be looking to upgrade at the trade deadline.
After a 2011-12 season that saw the Sharks finish second in the NHL in power-play percentage, San Jose is now sitting in 17th. An offensive core consisting of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski should not be a mediocre power-play unit.
Look for Wilson to find a forward whose specialty includes getting pucks to the net when up a man on the ice. Scott Gomez was expected to be that facilitator, and although he has upped his game in recent days, he has not made the impact many thought he would.
The offense is obviously the team's biggest need of improvement as the trade deadline approaches. The Sharks need a player who can get the puck to the net on a regular basis.
San Jose ranks 29th in goals per game this season at 2.17.
Goalie Antti Niemi can only keep up his good play in net for so long, which is why the time is now for the Sharks to acquire a legitimate wing with an ability to get pucks to the net and allow the likes of Thornton, Couture, Marleau and Pavelski to increase their production in the scoring department.
Clowe is in the last year of his contract before he hits free agency, and he has done nothing to warrant a contract extension from the Sharks this season. However the trade market for him should still be high, considering his versatility, and San Jose should be able to acquire decent talent in return.
Murray is becoming less and less of a factor on the ice for the Sharks, making him a disposable piece for Wilson at the trade deadline. Murray's big body could be enticing for a team looking for bulk and physical play on defense.
Demers has played well for the Sharks on defense, but with the emergence of Justin Braun, Demers becomes young talent that other teams could be interested in. The trade market for him could be at an all-time high, which is why Wilson may want to finally pull the trigger on trading Demers.
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