San Jose Sharks 2010-11 Regular Season Three Stars

MJ KasprzakSenior Writer IIJune 6, 2011

Antti Niemi's play in the regular season was a key reason the Sharks won the competitive Pacific Division
Antti Niemi's play in the regular season was a key reason the Sharks won the competitive Pacific DivisionHarry How/Getty Images

During the 2010-11 regular season, the San Jose Sharks attained the fifth-best record in the NHL while playing in its toughest division.

You do not accomplish that feat without a team effort. But there were some players who stood out more than others.

Just as was done for the 2011 playoffs (see link), three Sharks are singled out as the top stars of the team's regular season.

1. Antti Niemi

For the season, Nemo played 60 games, going 35-18-6 with six shutouts, a .920 save percentage and 2.38 goals against average. All those numbers place him near the middle of the pack for starters except in wins and shutouts—hardly worthy of the team's first star.

However, he played in 36 of the team's last 37 games when Anterro Niittymaki went down with an injury and was extraordinary. He went 26-5-4, including four shutouts and 26 games with a save percentage better than .900. During that span, he allowed just 78 goals (2.13 GAA) on 1,029 shots (.924 save percentage), leading the Sharks from the 12th to second spot in the Western Conference by the end of the season.

2. Logan Couture

The Sharks rookie was instrumental all season for San Jose, playing well in all three zones at even strength, short-handed and on the power play. He finished second on the team in goals with 32, seventh on the team with 24 assists and first among forwards (second overall) at plus-18. 

Couture also came through when it was most important, as his eight game-winners and 10 power play goals were both one behind the team leader(s).

3. Dan Boyle

Boyler had almost over twice as many points (50) as the next best Sharks defenceman (Ian White had 26 between three teams, but Jason Demers' 24 was second as a member of the Sharks). His 41 assists were third on the team, and he led the team in ice time as he was called on to play both ends but still finished plus-two for the season.

Boyle also showed great leadership, with two of his nine goals being game-winners. But more than anything, during the six games he missed, we found out how essential he was as the team's power play came to a crashing halt (he had four power play goals during the regular season). This is what gave him the edge over Ryane Clowe (24 G, 38 A, +13) for third star.