General manager Doug Wilson led the Sharks to a very productive offseason, stacking the roster with some much needed defense and speed. These were their main weaknesses in recent years.
The Sharks acquired speedy winger Martin Havlat and defensemen Brent Burns, Jim Vandermeer and Colin White.
The Sharks will also still have the likes of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Ryane Clowe and Dan Boyle, some of the bigger names in the NHL. They have reliable goaltending in Antti Niemi and Antero Niittymaki.
Despite the stacked roster they have, the road to the Stanley Cup may not be so easy. Getting through the Western Conference playoffs still won't be easy, despite all the premiere players.
One of the teams that may give the Sharks a run for their money is the Los Angeles Kings. Last season, the Sharks were able to oust them in the first round in six games. The problem is, three of the Sharks four wins against them were in overtime, where anything could have happened.
The Kings have a stacked roster themselves for next season, with the likes of Dustin Penner, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Justin Williams, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson.
They also have one of the top goaltending tandems in the league in Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier. The young Kings may be pests for the Sharks this season.
Another team that may give the Sharks some trouble is the Detroit Red Wings. Despite the Sharks knocking them out the last two consecutive postseasons, the Wings are still a huge threat, nonetheless.
They still have big names like Henrik Zetterburg, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom and Johan Franzen. The Sharks should be able to beat the Red Wings, but it definitely won't be easy.
The Chicago Blackhawks were able to oust the Sharks two postseasons ago in a four-game sweep, but were eliminated by the Canucks last year. The Hawks' lineup is still a Cup contender, with big names like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa.
The Hawks are a speedy team, which could exploit one of the Sharks' few weaknesses, but maybe their new and improved defense will aid in shutting them down if need be.
Finally, the Vancouver Canucks, who knocked the Sharks aside last postseason in the Western Conference Finals. The Canucks are not an easy team to beat, with star players such as Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler.
They also have one of the best goalies in the league, Roberto Luongo, who is still trying to prove he can come up in the clutch. Still, the Canucks may be a pain in the new and improved Sharks' side.
Despite the challenges the Sharks will face trying to beat these four teams during the season and maybe the postseason, the Sharks are definitely capable of getting the job done. But it still won't be easy.
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