Ah, the Sharks. Perennial playoff darlings. The 2016 Western Conference Finalists will host the Edmonton Oilers tonight at the Shark Tank. Here to answer my burning questions about these San Jose Sharks is Jake Sundstrom from SB Nation's Fear The Fin.
And here they are.
Copper and Blue: Patrick Marleau had a four goal period against the Avalanche this past weekend. He added another one in Tuesday's victory over the Jets. At 37 years of age, he's fifth on the team with 25 points (17-8-25). He's a UFA after this year. What's his future with the club?
Fear the Fin: I have to imagine Patrick Marleau returns to the Sharks next year on a two-year contract. He's just been too productive this season to not bring him back, right? With the expansion draft looming I'm sure San Jose will wait until after the season to pull the trigger.
Copper and Blue: For some time, the Oilers have had a somewhat chequered goaltending history. The Sharks have what appear to be a healthy 1-2 tandem in Martin Jones (25-14-2, / .917 SV% / 2.23 GAA / 2 SO) and Aaron Dell (6-2-0, .930 / 1.97 GAA / 1 SO). Should the unthinkable happen and Jones not be able to go, what's your level of confidence in Aaron Dell?
Fear The Fin: It's hard to say because Dell hasn't gotten a very long look in the crease this season, but he's been very good while he has. His AHL numbers are also very good, but I don't think Doug Wilson lets the Sharks enter the postseason without a guy with some experience. If Jones gets hurt after the trade deadline, well, I guess I'll have to start going to church again.
Copper and Blue: Let's talk about San Jose's top point-getter so far, Brent Burns. Had he hit the free agent market this summer, he'd be one of the most attractive free agents for most any club. The Sharks avoided this by signing him to an eight year deal at $8MM / AAV. No doubt, Burns is the goods, but how concerned are you in regards to Burns' age and performance in the second half of that contract?
Fear The Fin: Come on, this is the NHL. We'll have at least one lockout before then. Next question.
Copper and Blue:. Tell us about a Shark who's exceeded expectations this year so far.
Fear The Fin: Kevin Labanc. The sixth round draft pick wandered into training camp and lit the damn place on fire. He didn't start the season with the team, but since Labanc was called up in mid-November, nobody has mentioned sending him down. Labanc seems like the real deal and that's good news for a team that (until recently) couldn't score.
Copper and Blue: Finally, it's been about three hundred years since the Oilers have made the postseason. The Sharks finished runner-up to the Penguins the 2016 Cup Finals. Is anything less than a Cup looked at as a disappointment? Why, or why not?
Fear The Fin: Yes and no. Getting to the Stanley Cup is so damn hard that I think you've got to recognize that getting back there requires a lot of luck to go with the skill. I'll be disappointed if the Sharks don't win this year, but it won't be the same kind of disappointment as in years past, if that makes sense.
The San Jose Sharks host the Edmonton Oilers tonight.
Thanks to Jake for his time!