The San Jose Sharks, at the moment, are a mystery in terms of the upcoming 2013-14 NHL season. After a rather surprising 2013 lockout-shortened season, the Sharks now face lofty expectations under a new, quick and more physical system on the ice.
The mystery comes from of an externally unimpressive offseason where they lost the energetic supporting cast of T.J. Galiardi and Scott Gomez. Galiardi seemed to find new life in the more up-tempo style of play, especially when placed on the first line with Joe Thornton and Brent Burns. Gomez was a facilitator, something the Sharks will surely miss on the bottom two lines.
The Sharks did pick up forward Tyler Kennedy, though, a player in desperate need of a fresh start and now in a position with San Jose that will fit his game nearly to a tee. His fast, energetic style of play will be a welcome addition to the new up-tempo Sharks.
So have the Sharks gotten better or worse this offseason?
Only time will tell.
Martin Havlat is arguably the biggest wild card in 2013-14, and there is a very good chance he has already played his last game in teal. If so, the Sharks will need an entirely new cast of characters to step up.
Here are a few that should pick up the slack.