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San Jose Sharks off to a historic start to the season

Sharks | Flickr

The Sharks started the season with 11 consecutive losses before ending that streak in a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 7.

Historic is one way to put it–historically bad that is. The San Jose Sharks may be the worst team in the salary cap era of the National Hockey League.

The Sharks were off to a cold start 1-10-1 start to the season, with only 14 goals scored in their first 12 games. Auston Matthews is leading the league with 13.

They have given up 56, which is the most in the NHL. Their goal differential of -42 is the worst in the league by 24 goals, followed by the Edmonton Oilers at -18.

The Sharks are struggling in every aspect this season. However, the struggle is understandable to an extent as the Sharks have played against 11 highly competitive teams, the only real exceptions being the Nashville Predators and the Flyers.

Headlining their schedule so far is the 11-1-1 Vegas Golden Knights and the 10-1-1 Boston Bruins, as well as being put up against the Vancouver Canucks, who are off to a hot 9-2-1 start to their season. These are the best three teams in the entire league.

Out of the Sharks’ 12 games, they’ve played eleven teams so far, two against the Carolina Hurricanes, and out of these eleven, six of them are versus teams who stand in the top 10 of the NHL, now a month into the season.

The question of “When will this team win a game?” kept being asked until their eventual victory over Philly, especially when the Sharks gave up 10 goals in two consecutive games, a feat that has only happened four times in NHL History.

Forward Tomas Hertl seems to be the only bright spot for the club. He leads the team in points with seven, and only one goal scored. The equation for teams playing the Sharks is pretty simple: shut down Hertl and the game is won.

The forward core other than Hertl has been disappointing to say the least.

Mike Hoffman, acquired this summer in the massive three-team trade that sent Erik Karlsson to the Pittsburgh Penguins, has only one assist to start the year. Anthony Duclair, also traded for this summer, has three goals and five points.

These players were brought in to help the struggling Sharks, which finished 29th in last season’s campaign, a record of 22-44-16.

The goaltending hasn’t been much of a help either.

Going into the season, Mackenzie Blackwood, signed this offseason after spending his first five seasons in the league with the New Jersey Devils, was their starting netminder. Backing him up would be Kaapo Kahkonen, in his third season with the club.

Blackwood has appeared in nine games, holding a record of 1-6-1 with a .892 save percentage and 4.27 goals against average.

Kahkonen hasn’t been much better in his six games, he holds a .876 SV% and 4.30 GAA.

The only team with worse goaltenders so far this year has been the Oilers, who hold a record of 2-8-1 and a team SV% of .864. Their tandem of Jack Campbell and Stuart Skinner has been a tough watch early.

Looking at their current standing, the Sharks team may be the worst team to ever take the ice in the salary cap era.

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  • J

    Joe BelloNov 13, 2023 at 9:31 pm

    Great writing. Good job. Looking forward to more

  • M

    Mr. BNov 13, 2023 at 3:36 pm

    Very insightful Mr. Bello. Well done