The 2022-23 season has been a mixed bag for the San Jose Sharks. Through the first 17 games, they have managed to put up five wins, nine losses, and three overtime losses for 13 points. Despite a few games looking like they should have gone the Sharks’ way, a few blown leads and late collapses set the team back to seventh in the Pacific Division. However, while the overall team success has been mediocre at best, the roster has had a few surprises.
It appeared that the Sharks were going to experience a relatively slow season, but that has not been the case. While the wins haven’t been there, the team is garnering a decent amount of attention due to the individual performances of a few players. With that in mind, here are a few players that have caught the eye of hockey fans so far this season.
Talking about individual performances on the Sharks this season is difficult without mentioning Erik Karlsson. After a few years where the production wasn’t there, he has returned to form so far this season, perhaps even playing better than he was before being traded to San Jose. There is no confusing it; Karlsson has emerged as a legitimate early Norris potentially even Hart Trophy candidate in 2022-23.
So far this season, Karlsson has put up 22 points in 17 games. While this might have been the production level the Sharks expected from him after he was acquired, this is certainly far above what was expected of him in 2022-23. Nevertheless, it is excellent to see prime Karlsson again, even if his current point pace does not continue.
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For the Sharks, Karlsson’s current performance creates many questions. If they want to initiate a rebuild, now could be the perfect time to try and trade him. However, that does not seem very likely. He has finally begun to live up to the trade that haunts the Sharks to this day. If they decide to move him now, they could very likely never live it down if they lose the trade again.
When the Sharks entered the 2022 offseason, they made a series of “low-risk, high-reward” signings. One of those came in the form of Evgeny Svechnikov. After many less-than-stellar seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and a one-year stint with the Winnipeg Jets, the Sharks decided to take a chance on him with a one-year contract. So far, he has lived up to that contract and more.
Svechnikov is currently on pace for 36 points this season if he plays every game and does not drop off. Obviously, that is not highly likely, but even then, he has the potential to trounce his single-season record in the NHL. He will likely never be a high-end performer for the Sharks, but his play has outperformed the expectations of fans up to this point. If he can keep it up, he could make for a great potential trade candidate at the deadline.
While it is great to see players exceeding expectations, that cannot be the case for every skater on the Sharks. Unfortunately, it would appear that Mario Ferraro has fit into the other category so far this year. Coming off of a season where he was essentially the backbone of the defensive core, he has struggled to find his game. However, this may be an issue beyond his control.
Ferraro’s point totals would suggest that he is continuing right where he left off last season, but his defensive game has taken a hit. Unfortunately, he has been primarily relegated to a bottom-pairing role on the defensive core. This means that while Karlsson elevates the numbers of the defensemen around him, Ferraro is left to quarterback the gritty side of play. Unfortunately, this has led to numerous situations where he has been hung out to dry. As a result, his numbers have struggled to maintain consistency this season.
Even though the individual performances of many players on the Sharks are decent, the team as a whole is struggling to find their game. However, even if the team is falling flat, at least fans get to watch a handful of players step up their game. If they can continue that gradual build, the Sharks could find their game again in the near future.
Andrew Stille is a freelance writer for THW who is currently studying Journalism and Communication in college. In addition, he’s a devoted NHL content creator looking to grow and learn daily. Andrew is a trustworthy source for everything San Jose Sharks-related and strives to create fun and exciting articles for all readers.
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