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Meet your 2010-11 San Jose Sharks
Opening night roster
10/7/10 - By Mike Lee -

Forwards-

Ryane Clowe | Stats

The 28-year old Newfoundland native starts his 5th season as a regular with the Sharks. He played a full 82-games last year, setting a career high in points (57) and penalty minutes (131), even though he got off to a slow start. The Sharks are still looking for Clowe to evolve into a Tomas Holmstrom type player and will be looked upon to provide more offensive this season.

Logan Couture | Stats

One season removed from major junior, Couture got to cut his teeth in San Jose last year, playing in 25 games. The expectations for the smooth skating youngster will be higher this year as the Sharks need their former 1st round draft pick to start paying dividends. Couture will see 3rd line minutes because of the Sharks glut at center, but will be called upon to take up some slack on the 2nd line if Devin Setoguchi or Clowe slip.

Dany Heatley | Stats

The much maligned winger stepped into a new environment in San Jose last season and delivered. An injury during the playoffs prevented him from operating at 100%, but he’ll be expected to deliver more than the two tallies he recorded last spring. Heatley will get an earful when he makes his return to Ottawa on December 2nd. It will be his first time back since he asked the Senators to trade him in the summer of 2009.

Patrick Marleau | Stats

This season marks the Sharks 20th campaign in the NHL, and all but seven of those have included Marleau in teal. The former Sharks captain signed a four-year deal in July that keeps four key pieces of the Sharks roster (along with Heatley, Dan Boyle and Joe Pavelski) in the Bay Area through the 2013-14 season. This may be the first time in a long time that Marleau can play without the dark clouds of trade rumors swirling above. Marleau had another solid season last year and was the Sharks most consistent player in the playoffs. Without the added pressure, Marleau could turn in a monster year.

Jamal Mayers | Stats

The free-agent signee will mark his 12th year in the league as a 4th line forward for the Sharks, essentially filling the role vacated by Jed Ortmeyer. Mayers had an up and down season last year, which started with the Toronto Maple Leafs and ended with the Calgary flames after a deadline trade. Don’t expect big offensive numbers from Mayers. He’ll be called upon provide energy on the Sharks shutdown line and provide some occasional muscle. Look for Mayers to spend a lot of time with Scott Nichol and Frazer McLaren this season.

John McCarthy | Stats

One of the biggest surprises to emerge during training camp, McCarthy will likely get his opportunity if McLaren wavers early on. The Boston native wasn’t a big numbers guy during his four seasons at Boston University, but he opened things up in Worcester last year. He’ll also be challenged by Tommy Wingels for ice time.

Jamie McGinn | Stats

If recent practices are any indication, McGinn will get a chance to start the year on the Sharks top line with Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi. Sharks head coach Todd McLellan is experimenting with lines that spread his offense out. Having McGinn on a line with Thornton will keep opposing defenses honest, because McGinn provides a little grit. It’ll be interesting to see how that experiment pans out, because McGinn isn’t known as a finisher. He’ll have to carry his own weight on a line that will be expected to convert goals.

Frazer McLaren | Stats

With Jody Shelley being traded last spring, the 6’5”, 250 lb McLaren will serve as the Sharks de facto enforcer this season. Not known for his offensive skills, McLaren needs to be the muscle that keeps opposing players from taking liberties with the Sharks superstars. If he falters beyond that roll, San Jose has McCarthy and Tommy Wingels to lean on.

Torrey Mitchell | Stats

After his impressive pro debut during the 2007-2008 campaign, Mitchell was sidelined with a broken leg that cost him the entire 2008-09 season and the start of last season. He would play in 56 regular season games, but he never got on track as he tried to regain the speed that made him such a formidable weapon his rookie season. He has a strong training camp, so look for goods things from the 25-year old centerman. He’ll most likely start the season on the 3rd line, but will be swapped upwards as McLellan tinkers with his lines.

Scott Nichol | Stats

Arguably the biggest spark plug in the lineup last season, the 35-year old veteran was re-signed to a 1-year deal in order to give the Sharks more veteran leadership. The high-energy forward is a fan-favorite everywhere he plays, because of the effort you get night in and night out. His presence in the locker room and on the bench becomes that much more important with Rob Blake’s retirement. He won’t log the most ice-time, but he’ll show the Sharks youngsters how to be professionals.

Joe Pavelski | Stats

Last season was Pavelski’s breakout year. He scored 25 regular season goals for the second consecutive season, and came up big for Team USA in the Olympics which resulted in a silver medal. That was all overshadowed by his monster performance in the playoffs, where he netted 9 goals and 8 assists in 15 games. He single handedly beat the Avalanche with 5 goals in the series. He rang up another 4 against the Red Wings in the next series. Look for bigger and better things from the next face of the franchise.

Devin Setoguchi | Stats

The training wheels are finally off on the 2005 1st round draft pick. His goal scoring numbers were down considerably last season after lighting the lamp 31 times the season prior. The reduction in offense was largely attributed to a stint on the disabled list in October that saddled him for 7 games. He would go back on the shelf 10 days after returning, missing another 5 games. When he finally did get healthy, he was a key ingredient in the Sharks playoff run. If he can stay healthy, Setoguchi will provide the Sharks with enough scoring to force opposing teams to spread their attention away from Marleau, Thornton and Heatley. He’s still only 23-years old, but will be looked upon to provide veteran leadership this season.

Joe Thornton | Stats

The newly named captain will have his plate full this season. The Sharks playoff failures are pressure enough, but anointing him captain will make him a marked man with fans and the media should the Sharks stumble this season. His history with the C in Boston will provide him with plenty of motivation to show that he’s an elite player AND can lead a team. The proof however will be in the proverbial Stanley Cup pudding. Forget the fact that Thornton is older and more mature. The one advantage he’ll have this time around is that he won’t have the east coast media breathing down his neck. His legacy will be solely be dictated by the number of championship rings he’s able to win, so he has some work to do.

Tommy Wingels | Stats

The first year pro makes the opening night roster, but his inexperience at the pro level will almost certainly land him back in Worcester at some point during the season. His penchant for hitting anything on skates could make him a fan favorite someday. His hit on Logan Couture during the Teal & White Game raised eyebrows. Just think what he could do to real opposition. He demonstrated a nose for the net at Miami University, where he scored 43 goals over the past three seasons.


Defensemen—

Dan Boyle | Stats

Boyle returns for his third season in San Jose and is undoubtedly one of the most important pieces to San Jose’s lineup. His 58 points (15G, 43A) last season ranked 4th among all NHL defensemen. The next highest point total for an active Sharks defenseman was Kent Huskin’s 22 points, which ranked 79th in the league. Boyle is also now the blueline leader with Rob Blake retiring last season. 2010-11 will mark Boyle’s 13th year in the league. The 34-year old defenseman logged 1,992 minutes of ice time, which ranked 12th in the league.

Jason Demers | Stats

An impressive training camp last season landed Demers a job on th eopening night roster, but a rough stretch would land him back in Worcester. He would play is way back to San Jose and played in all 15 playoff games last season. He’ll get a chance to log more ice time this season with Blake’s departure. With more emphasis on youngsters on the Sharks blueline, Demers will be expected to carry his own weight. He’ll have to eliminate the bad habits that shortened his stay with the big club last season, in order to move up the depth chart.

Kent Huskins | Stats

The stay at home defenseman starts his second season in San Jose, where he recorded a career high in points last year (3G, 19A). Don’t expect a flashy skater, or big hitter. Huskins’ game is as vanilla as it gets, but the Sharks don’t need sizzle. They need Huskins to keep the puck out of the net. He get plenty of chances to do that with only 7 defensemen on the opening night roster.

Mike Moore | Stats

The young defenseman was the big surprise of training camp, earning a spot with the big club and sending veteran Andreas Lilja packing. Moore isn’t an imposing figure, but he will provide some physical toughness when required.

Douglas Murray | Stats

The “Crankshaft’s” specialty is hitting people and he excelled at it last season. He led the Sharks with 175 hits, many of the bone jarring variety. What’s most entertaining is seeing an opposing player bounce off the burly defenseman when trying to lay a hit in retaliation. Where his strength is an asset, his skating ability is a liability. He’ll need to improve on his defensive positioning in order to take some of the pressure off his defensive linemate.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic | Stats

While still a pup at 23 years of age, Vlasic is starting his 5th NHL campaign and is establishing himself as one of the best young defensemen in the league. He had a team high 122 block shots last season, and was 10th in the league in plus/minus (+21) among defensemen. He was on pace to match his career high in points before being sidelined with a lower body injury at the end of January that sidelined him for 17 games.

Niclas Wallin | Stats

The veteran blueliner was acquired in trade with Carolina in February, in order to bring more playoff experience to lineup. He would play in 23 regular season games, but injured his knee which would limit him to 6 playoff games. He was on the fence about retiring during the summer, but Wilson convinced him to take one more crack at winning a Cup. Wallin is the senior statesmen on the roster at 35-years old.


Goaltenders—

Thomas Greiss | Stats

Evgeni Nabokov’s understudy seemed poised to get his shot at the Sharks starting job but that all changed when San Jose acquired Anttii Niemi. He’ll be on the opening night roster, but it’s expected to be traded or sent to Worcester until he can be dealt.

Antti Niemi | Stats

Platooning with Cristobal Huet last season in Chicago, Niemi recorded an impressive 27-7-4 record as a rookie. He would get the nod over Huet in the playoffs, knocking off the Sharks in four straight and eventually winning the Stanley Cup. After winning an arbitration hearing over the Blackhawks, he found himself an unrestricted free-agent after Chicago decided to walk away from the deal. The Sharks snatched him up in early September to create a glut at the position. It’s assumed he’ll platoon with Antero Nittmaki to start the season as the Sharks try to shop last year’s backup Thomas Greiss.

Antero Niittymaki | Stats

Another Finnish goaltender, Niittymaki was signed during the summer after Wilson announced he would not bring mainstay Evgeni Nabokov back for an 11th season. He thought he would be battling Greiss for the starting job, but after Niemi became available, that all changed. The butterfly style goaltender had a better camp than Niemi but a career 2.98 goals against average means he’ll have to prove his worthy of the starting job.


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