San Jose Sharks: Breaking Down the Projected Starting Lines in 2011-12
It is no secret that the San Jose Sharks have been active this offseason. The black and teal traded wingers Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley in exchange for All-Stars Brent Burns and Martin Havlat in two separate deals with the Minnesota Wild.
Why attempt to fix something that is not considered broken?
Ask Sharks GM Doug Wilson, who seems determined to put together the exact pieces for yet another Stanley Cup run next season.
San Jose has appeared in back-to-back Western Conference Finals, and still that does not seem enough for a team oozing with talent.
Given the trades this offseason, expect the Sharks to be back in 2011-12 ready to make another run through the Western Conference.
However, the starting lines do not seem as set as the confidence this team has in their ability to make another run at the Stanley Cup.
Here are the Sharks' projected starting lines next season.
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Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski
For those wanting to see a new "Big Three" in San Jose after the departure of Dany Heatley may be surprised as to who that new first line will consist of.
The overall consensus after the Heatley for Havlat trade was that Havlat would claim the right wing spot on the first line with Thornton and Marleau.
However, the San Jose Mercury News' David Pollack does not seem to think so.
He wrote in his Working the Corners blog that he envisions the Sharks' first line setting up as Marleau, Thornton and Pavelski.
The idea would be to keep speed threats on the top two lines.
With Marleau's speed on the first line and Havlat's speed on the second line, that might just work.
Ryane Clowe, Logan Couture and Martin Havlat
David Pollack is also dreaming of the second line in his Working the Corners blog.
He feels the line of Clowe, Couture and Havlat are a perfect fit, and this line could definitely surprise some people.
The addition of Havlat on this line may not sit well with some, but the speed he brings to the second line would be more well received than on the first line with Marleau.
The physical play of Clowe, craftiness of Couture and speed of Havlat could make this a lethal line next season.
Jamie McGinn, Michael Handzus and Torrey Mitchell
We have been waiting for the official arrival of the McGinn and Mitchell duo for some time, and this may be the year it actually happens.
The acquisition of Handzus will pay dividends for San Jose this season. Not only does he bring a veteran presence to this roster, but he is still an excellent penalty killer at age 34.
He will be a welcome addition to this line as he will bring a veteran presence to the young wingers.
Andrew Desjardins, Kyle Wellwood and Benn Ferriero
This line may not be as sexy as the first two lines, as I am not sure any fourth line is, but this may be one of the more talented fourth lines next season.
We witnessed the arrival of Desjardins in the playoffs last season and he proved he is ready for the NHL in 2011-12.
The Kyle Wellwood factor is a big one, mostly because he is not signed by the Sharks yet.
All reports say that Wellwood has not heard from a single team this offseason, which is surprising considering how well he played in the first two rounds of the playoffs last season.
Expect the Sharks to sign him to a one-year deal sometime soon.
Wellwood's experience and Desjardins' youth should fit well with the 23-year-old Ferriero.
Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray
The same people who expected to see Havlat on the first line also expect Dan Boyle to play with the newly acquired Brent Burns. However, that simply will not be the case.
Boyle and Murray have fit so well together that it is virtually impossible for coach Todd McLellan to separate the two.
The Boyle and Burns duo would be a talent frenzy, but it is the finesse play of Boyle mixed with the physical play of Murray that makes this defensive pairing one of the best in the NHL.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns
The addition of Brent Burns immediately gives this team defensive stability, something San Jose has been lacking since Rob Blake retired.
Vlasic and Burns are two of the more talented young defensemen in the game these days and it will be exciting to see these two play together on that second line.
This line is as solid as any first line in the Western Conference.
Jim Vandermeer and Jason Demers
Many expect the young Demers to really come into his own this next season, and Jim Vandermeer will have a lot to do with that.
The pairing of the 31-year-old Vandermeer and the 22-year-old Demers will be something that Sharks fans will be interested in seeing develop.
Demers has been playing on the third line with a mixture of Justin Braun and Kent Huskins these last couple years, so Vandermeer is a welcome addition.
His skill set alongside Vandermeer's physical style of play could be a third line match made in hockey heaven.
In addition, expect the Sharks to carry seven defensemen to start the season. Justin Braun is ready for the NHL, but it is San Jose's newfound depth on defense that has Braun on the outside looking in to start the season.