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Light at the end of the tunnel?
Looking like a long season for the Sharks
10/16/22 - By Paul Krill
This is looking like the proverbial long, long season for the Sharks, as in a season that is going to be filled with lots and lots of losses. They're off to an 0-4 start, despite having leads in the last three games, including a 2-0 advantage that quickly evaporated Saturday, on Doug Wilson Night. Six Sharks goals in 12 periods of hockey so far this season is just not going to cut it. Neither will allowing back-to-back shorthanded goals, as they did Saturday.

But is there a light at the end of the tunnel in what is shaping up as a dismal year? One of these apparently generational players, Connor Bedard, will be available in the entry draft next June. He's a nearly two-points-per game player and is widely considered as can't-miss.

Bedard could be akin to somebody like Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid: a franchise player. To qualify for the chance to draft Bedard, teams will have to place prominently in the draft lottery. As in, have an abysmal season. Bedard would be a very nice consolation prize for the Sharks.

Still, placement in the draft lottery is no guarantee you will even get the number 1 spot. So it's probably a waste of time for Sharks fans to look to the next draft lottery to save the team.

Besides, how much can we expect out of an 18-year-old in his rookie season? To put us back in the playoffs in 2024? Good luck with that.

Anyway, here's some personal early season observations for this so-far subpar campaign

* While I don't agree with the continued routine changing of the uniforms every few seasons, which you don't see long-established teams like the Blackhawks or Red Wings doing, I love this year's new Sharks uniforms. The Sharks' teal has always been a differentiator in a league filled with teams wearing red, blue, or black. These new uniforms really accentuate the teal color.

* Somebody better tell Timo Meier this is a contract year, as in, put on your best show. He's got one point, an assist, in four games and is minus-3.

* Tomas Hertl so far has equally disappointing numbers but at least he's signed for eight years.

* While we can't blame goaltender Kappo Kahkonen for all of those goals on Saturday night, he certainly didn't keep us in the game with any kind of stand-on-your-head play in the net.

* It's disappointing to see top prospects William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau consigned to the AHL early this season. But I just have to trust the Sharks' staff knows what it's doing. These two players are already a light at the end of the tunnel for the Sharks, given their abilities and youth.

* It's also disappointing for me, at least, to see defenseman Ryan Merkley back in the AHL and not with the big squad. I've been a big Merkley fan and was glad to be in attendance for his first (and so far only) NHL goal last season. Hopefully, another stint in the AHL will get him up to speed on the defensive part of his game, which has been a question mark.

* Nice to be able to get to a Sharks game without all the covid procedures. How many people stayed home to avoid that bother last year? Attendance in the two home games so far has been OK.

* While I've been a Sharks fan since 1991, I've been a Miami Dolphins football fan since 1971. The Dolphins' general manager is Chris Grier, brother of Sharks GM Mike Grier. I am hoping at least one of the brothers can get a championship ring ASAP.


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