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Golden Knights Rivals: Sharks Offload Burns Contract, Switch Jerseys

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Tomas Hertl San Jose Sharks (San Jose Hockey Now Photo- Sammi Silber Washington Hockey Now)
Tomas Hertl San Jose Sharks (San Jose Hockey Now Photo- Sammi Silber Washington Hockey Now)

Welcome to a new series here at Vegas Hockey Now, where we will take a look at all the teams in the Pacific Division and analyze what they did this offseason. The Golden Knights missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season, so keeping an eye on the other teams in the division is key.

Today we start with perhaps the biggest rival of the Golden Knights, the San Jose Sharks. The regular-season series between these two teams have been lopsided, with the Golden Knights being 18-5 all-time against the Sharks in the regular season.

But in a certain playoff series, and in a stretch-run game up to the playoffs last season, the Sharks have played Golden Knights killers. They will likely not be contenders in 22-23 but still have a team to watch out for as they play the Golden Knights rival four times in the regular season.

San Jose Sharks

Last Season- 32-37-13, 77 points- missed playoffs

2022-23 Matchups- 10/25, away at 7:30, 11/15 at home, 7:00, 2/16 at home, 7:00, 3/30, away at 7:30.

Notable Additions- Head coach David Quinn, New Jerseys, Luke Kunin, Oskar Lindblom, Nico Sturm, Matt Benning, Marcus Nutivaara.

Notable Subtractions- Head coach Bob Boughner, Rudolfs Balcers, Brent Burns, Adin Hill.

It’s still hard to tell exactly what direction the Sharks franchise is taking. The Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, and now Brent Burns eras are over.

They seem stuck in a bit of limbo with several long-term contracts to veteran players. This appears to be holding them back from tearing things down and rebuilding. The Sharks have not made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2018-19. That was the year they had that infamous Game 7 against the VGK.

They have a lot of strong prospects and young players in their system with guys like William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau. But contracts to 32-year-old Erik Karlsson (5 more years at $11.5 million), 35-year-old Marc-Edouard Vlasic (4 more years at $7 million), and 33-year-old Logan Couture (5 more years at $8 million) show that they are ready to win now, despite not making the playoffs.

To the Sharks’ credit, they have been able to offload some of their long-term contracts with the Evander Kane situation reaching its climax and the team trading Brent Burns to the Carolina Hurricanes, ala Max Pacioretty. Perhaps if they can continue to do this, they can get back towards the playoff line sooner.

Their roster overall looks like a competitive team. But not one that I see making the playoffs, let alone doing anything in them. They will be an upset team this upcoming season, and to make the playoffs, the Golden Knights will have to continue their regular season success against them.

Many people see them finishing at the bottom of the Pacific Division standings. But with good players like Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier, I think they at least finish off the ground floor.

VHN’s Pacific Division Prediction– 7th Pacific Division, 13th Western Conference

Projected Depth Chart

Alexander Barabanov- Tomas Hertl- Timo Meier

Luke Kunin- Logan Couture- Kevin Labanc

Oskar Lindblom- Nick Bonino- Noah Gregor

Steven Lorentz- Nico Sturm- Matt Nieto

Mario Ferraro- Erik Karlsson

Radim Simek- Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Marcus Nutivaara- Matt Benning

James Reimer/Kaapo Kahkonen

IR: Nikolai Knyzhov

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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