San Jose Sharks: The Struggle Continues in 2023-24

San Jose Sharks: The Struggle Continues in 2023-24

01 Nov 2023 | eurohockey.com
 

The San Jose Sharks entered the 2023-24 NHL season with tempered expectations, but their performances so far have left fans and analysts wondering if they are witnessing the making of a historically inept team. With a current record of 0-8-1 and a goal differential tracking for -227, the Sharks could be staring down the barrel of one of the worst seasons in NHL history.

 
 
 
 

If the Sharks continue on their current trajectory, they are on pace for a mere nine-point season, which would be the worst in NHL history by some margin. The 1974 Washington Capitals hold the existing record for the worst goal differential at -265, but the Sharks are not far behind with their projected -227. While the goaltending duo of Mackenzie Blackwood and Kaapo Kähkönen has provided some stability with a team save percentage of .907, the historically low offensive output has been the primary culprit for the Sharks' struggles.

The San Jose Sharks are one of the biggest outsiders to reach the playoffs this season, and all indicators suggest that they will be the whipping boys of the Western Conference. That could be very beneficial for punters this season, and all the updated odds and expert predictions can be viewed at Cheeky Punter, who will be covering every minute of the action from the 2023-24 NHL season. In addition, the punter website provides real-time stats for all the teams and has gone one step further by shortlisting three of their top-rated betting sites for Ice Hockey in specific.

In offense, The Sharks have been dismal, managing just one goal per game and a shooting percentage of 4.1%. To put this in perspective, teams with shooting percentages below 7.0% are rare, and even the worst offensive teams in recent history have hovered around the two-goals-per-game mark. Not to mention, the absence of top-end talent, especially with Logan Couture out indefinitely, compounds their offensive struggles.

Despite their winless start, the Sharks have shown glimpses of competitiveness in recent matchups. Against the Washington Capitals, they held a 1-0 lead entering the third period and put on a solid man-on-man performance. While they eventually lost 3-1, the ability to compete against a formidable opponent would have been a positive takeaway for David Quinn and co. When they lost 3-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes, they had more high-danger chances at even strength (10-6), and goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made 37 saves to keep his team in the game. However, offensive production remains a concern, with key players like Tomas Hertl, Mike Hoffman, and Anthony Duclair struggling to find the back of the net.

The Sharks' current situation is not just a result of this season's struggles but is a coming together of several factors that have developed over the years. Poor drafting during their contending years and the departure of key leaders, such as Joe Pavelski, have also contributed to the team's decline. In addition, the impact of the Erik Karlsson trade, which was once thought to be a good idea, has turned into a financial and personnel nightmare.

Facing the possibility of a franchise-record fourth-straight playoff miss, the road ahead looks bleak, but there is room for improvement. The goaltending provides a foundation, and offensive luck is bound to turn at some point. The Sharks may not go down in history as the worst team of all time, but fairytales emerge from struggles, and they will need something of that nature to pull them out of their current rut.


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