Colorado Avalanche Face the Pacific Division San Jose Sharks

Jan 26, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; A fight breaks out in the game between the San Jose Sharks and the Colorado Avalanche in the 3rd period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports. The Sharks won 6-1.
Jan 26, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; A fight breaks out in the game between the San Jose Sharks and the Colorado Avalanche in the 3rd period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports. The Sharks won 6-1. /

With the Central Division previews complete, it’s time to look at how the Colorado Avalanche may fare against the Pacific Division this year.

The Colorado Avalanche play in the most difficult division in the NHL; however, division opponents are only half the challenge, as the Western Conference also sports the more difficult competition out of the two conferences. Today we preview the San Jose Sharks from the Pacific Division.

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Everyone knows that San Jose is a team to be reckoned with now, even if last season was the first time in franchise history that the Sharks skated in a Stanley Cup Final.

Sure, their core group of guys are starting to age, with Joe Thornton just turning 37, Patrick Marleau approaching birthday No. 37, and Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns sitting at or close to their 32nd birthdays respectively.

However, no one is telling any of those men to slow down, as Burns just had a career season, Thornton lead the team in points with 82 — he had 63 assists on the year, more assists than any Avs player had in total points — Marleau still put up a respectable 48 points on the second line, and everyone knows what Pavelski is capable of.

Furthermore, there is a lot of young talent to be excited about on the Sharks team. Remember this early in Nathan MacKinnon’s rookie year?

Many thought Tomas Hertl would run away with the Calder Trophy that year, and he may have had he not sustained a knee injury relatively early in the season.

He’s not the only young gun on the Sharks who is making an impact either, as Joonas Donskoi also figures to be a solid player in the making.

Furthermore, Logan Couture cannot be left out of the picture, especially after his amazing playoff production. He’s also only 27 years old, which means he’s just skating into his prime.

So the window for this team doesn’t quite seem to have closed, especially if they can keep developing good young talent.

They also made some good additions this summer via free agency, and they should have more scoring punch to go with their dynamic defense.

Changes Sharks Made in the Offseason

The Sharks didn’t have much in the way of cap management to do this offseason, so they were able to hold onto most of their guys from last season, while also adding some good offensive depth.


As you can see, the Sharks sustained no significant injuries via the salary cap or free agency, as the most damaging departure is probably Roman Polak, but he was a bottom pairing defenseman anyway.

The bottom three are inconsequential as well because they had a combined four points and 34 games played between them, Morin didn’t even play at all until the playoffs and he didn’t show very well on that end.


Schlemko figures to slot in where Polak previously did, and he may not be as defensively responsible, but he still brings some good offensive depth to the blueline.

And of course everyone already knows that Boedker decided to sign with the Sharks, and we simply didn’t have the money to pay the man what he was seeking.

With no serious departures on the offensive end of things for the Sharks, Boedker figures to bolster an already dangerous offensive team.

It’s safe to say that the Sharks had a productive offseason, and have a good chance to contend for Lord Stanley again as long as their vets can keep their production up.

How the Colorado Avalanche Stack Up Against the San Jose Sharks

You’re going to think that the Colorado Avalanche don’t stack up very well against the Sharks, but I’ll show you otherwise. The Avalanche have a lot to be excited about, and the Sharks might be a team to look forward to for that excitement.

Nonetheless, the Avalanche are still a bubble team and they will still be playing against a Stanley Cup contender. And, that contender improved their roster over the offseason while holding onto all their key pieces as well, so it’s definitely going to be tough competition for the Avalanche this season.

Still, their is reason to be excited in Colorado Avalanche country because a new coach is only days away from being announced — at the time of writing this the announcement was not made yet — and there is plenty of talent on the team.

Where the Sharks are strong, the Avalanche are weak — defense. Where the teams are even is in their forward group, but where the Sharks have a question mark, the Avs are pretty set — goalies.

Sure Martin Jones is a good goalie in the making, and he’s only 26 years old so he has time to improve, but he’s no elite goalie. Still, if he plays like he did in the playoffs for the Sharks then they will have no troubles next season.

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Really, the Avs are in a similar boat as the Sharks as far as talent is concerned. Both teams sport an elite puck-moving defenseman (Tyson Barrie Vs Burns) while both teams also boast a complete two-way d-man (Marc-Edouard Vlasic Vs Erik Johnson).

Furthermore, they both have a set of three top end centers (Thornton, Pavelski, Couture Vs Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, and Carl Soderberg), while they’re looking for a little help on the wing beyond the top line (Marleau, Joel Ward, and Nikolay Goldobin/Donskoi Vs Jarome Iginla, Joe Colborne, and Mikko Rantanen/Mikhail Grigorenko).

The Sharks bolstered their wing depth with the acquisition of Boedker, but there are still a lot of question marks for their wings next season, even though they are heavy at center.

The Avalanche lost some of their wing depth when Boedker left in free agency, but they’re hoping that Rantanen and Grigorenko are able to take the next step in their careers, while continuing to depend on their depth at center.

All-in-all, with the defensive depth on the rise for the Colorado Avalanche, and some young forwards who could be making contributions in a couple years while the core ages, the Sharks may be a very comparable team for the Avalanche in a few short years.

Predictions for the Colorado Avalanche Vs San Jose Sharks

The Colorado Avalanche will only play the sharks twice next season, and it’s in a home and home fashion that will take place Jan 21, 2017 @ San Jose, and Jan 23, 2017 in Colorado.

I honestly think that the Avalanche could do pretty well against the Sharks this year, especially if they can shore up their third period collapse nonsense.

The Avs could have taken their game at home to overtime had Brent Burns not scorched a wrister to twine with just 1:39 remaining in the contest.

The two away games the Avs played were pretty lopsided for each team as the Avs won 6-3, and Nathan MacKinnon recorded his second career hat-trick, witness:

But the second game the Avs played against the Sharks was a blowout San Jose’s way, as they strolled to a 6-1 victory that the Avalanche just plain didn’t even show up for.

So, I think with a little more discipline the Avalanche figure to be a good match for the Sharks, and could see a nice 4 points over that weekend home and home.

Next: Writing About the Avs Ain't Easy!

Only time will tell folks, and who knows, maybe the Avalanche will have Bob Boughner — current assistant coach for San Jose — behind the bench in just a few short days, giving them a one-up on the Sharks when they do come across them on the schedule.

The season is approaching, EA Sports NHL 17 is reaching the shelf in less than a month, and the World Cup of Hockey and training camps will kick off shortly after, so hockey is near!

Here’s to hoping a new head coach gets announced soon, and that he is able to implement his systems in time for the Colorado Avalanche to be competitive against the extremely difficult Western Conference.