5 Reasons Why The Sharks Can Win the Cup This Year

Michael DeSantis@@dtrain2495Senior Analyst ISeptember 25, 2011

5 Reasons Why The Sharks Can Win the Cup This Year

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    If the Sharks can win the Stanley Cup this season, General Manager Doug Wilson should get the Conn Smythe. This offseason, he's made some extremely important moves to cover up the Sharks' few vulnerable areas.

    He traded Dany Heatley and Devin Setoghuchi for Martin Havlat and Brent Burns respectively.

    He signed Michal Handzus, Jim Vandermeer and Colin White, some very good depth players, whether they be on offense or defense.

    He prepared the Sharks to be better than ever this season, and the team may be able to get past the Western Conference Finals after falling flat there two seasons in a row.

    Here are some very solid reasons the Sharks definitely have what it takes to take the Stanley Cup to San Jose.

1. Their Offense Is Solid as Usual

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    Despite losing Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, the Sharks are still loaded on offense.

    They have NHL superstars Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton.

    Joe Pavelski, Ryane Clowe, Martin Havlat and soon-to-be sophomore sensation Logan Couture all have 25 goal potential, and are all clutch players.

    Between these six forwards, the Sharks have one of the top two line combinations in the entire league, who will only get better.

    Despite being a bit inconsistent at times, Marleau and Thornton are still postseason All-Stars when they're on their game.

    And guys like Pavelski and Couture are very consistent. It will be interesting to see Havlat in teal this year as well.

2. They Have One of the Best Defenses in the League

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    The Sharks have so much talent on the blue line this season.

    They have offensive threats like Dan Boyle, Jason Demers and Brent Burns, who are also pretty solid in their own zone as well.

    They have monster checkers Douglas Murray and Colin White, as well as sturdy defensemen Marc Edouard Vlasic and Jim Vandermeer.

    The pairings will most likely be:




    Those are very good depth pairings, and the Sharks have a variety of typing defensemen, as mentioned earlier. The Sharks easily have one of the best defenses in the league, something that led to their demise last year.

3. They Have Important "Role-Players"

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    This was another big part of their downfall last season. They had a lack of solid role-players. Wilson signed a role-player supreme this offseason in Michal Handzus.

    Handzus can score around 15 goals, is huge in the faceoff circle and loves to block shots. This will definitely alleviate some pressure on the Sharks goaltenders, along with the stacked-up defense.

    Ryane Clowe is one of the top power forwards in the league, and is a complete package for the power forward position.

    He can score around 25 goals, is a pretty solid setup man, and has decent speed. He is also a gritty player who will help his linemates get set up for a good shot.

    Jim Vandermeer is also a huge shot blocker, something that will really help the Sharks, along with Handzus.

    Colin White, like Murray, is a huge bruiser and will lay some nasty hits to intimidate the other team.

    The Sharks are looking good with their players that may not share as much of the spotlight.

4. Solid Goaltending

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    Antti Niemi and Antero Niittymaki are a very solid goaltending duo. And they'll be much better this season with the much improved defense in front of them.

    If Niemi and Niittymaki, or whoever else may play do their job, they'll be very solid, with the likes of Vlasic, Handzus and Vandermeer helping protect them.

    Niemi is in his prime, and will most likely be the No. 1 again this season, and should be very successful with the improved defense.

5. The Sharks Replace Heatley with Havlat, Gain Clutch Player

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    I apologize if some of this content resembles my last article, but the Sharks gained a speedy winger in Martin Havlat by sending Dany Heatley to the Wild.

    As much as Havlat's speed helps, it's his postseason performance the Sharks are looking forward to.

    Heatley may reign in the regular season, but he's as big a choker as they come when it comes beard time.

    In 32 postseason games with the Sharks in the past two years, Heatley has put up a measly five goals, horrible for him.

    He's a pretty big reason the Sharks have lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Blackhawks and Canucks.

    Havlat has been pretty successful in the postseason, and it's important for a team like the Sharks to have another clutch performer come crunch time.

    He may be a big reason in getting the Sharks over the hump.