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Felix’s Hockey Takes: A Look at the Playoff Picture, San Jose Sharks Without Jumbo

In this edition of Felix’s Hockey Takes…

I’ll take a look at the playoff picture as it stands, and talk about how the San Jose Sharks would do without Joe Thornton in the long run.

The Playoff Picture

Welcome to the month of February, as we are now two days into trade deadline month. The NHL Trade Deadline is February 26th, when playoff and Cup contenders gear up for the playoff push and pretenders stockpile on picks. As of now, the standings are as follows:


So if the playoffs started today, the first round would look like this:


The Western Conference standings look like they’re really tight, especially the Pacific Division (with the exception of Vegas who are still leading with a fairly comfortable 72 points). Out in the East, the New Jersey Devils look to be making their first trip to the postseason since losing the Stanley Cup Final back in 2012 when Peter DeBoer was their coach. The Flyers could be making a return to the playoffs as well after missing out last year. They’re in a battle with the Carolina Hurricanes for the second Wild Card spot, both tied with 56 points. Wouldn’t that be something if Carolina managed to squeak in and end their eight-year drought? We’ll talk more playoff scenarios in late March as the regular season winds down.

How Would The Sharks Fare (Long-Term) Without Joe Thornton?

The Sharks have been through situations without Joe Thornton before, and they’re going through it again, this time without Patrick Marleau as well as he’s thriving in Toronto. So far the results haven’t been pretty, as they’ve dropped four straight.

As we inch on closer towards the postseason, the Sharks are faced more and more with the prospect of not having Thornton around another year, although with the Sharks hosting the 2019 NHL All-Star Weekend his departure year might change.

It’s a scary situation for the team and us fans. Since the big trade during the 2005-’06 season, Sharks fans have been spoiled with having future Hall of Famer Jumbo Joe as their franchise star on the top line. Everyone on the roster’s been trying to pull on the same rope in his absence, because let’s face it. You can’t replace him.

However, that said, I believe it was Bret Hedican who mentioned — on the radio during the Sharks – Wings game two nights ago — that the Sharks have been trying to do too much. They’ve been decent offensively, scoring 8 goals in their last three games. The problem is they’ve given up 13 goals against. That’s far too many. Not all of them have been on Martin Jones and Aaron Dell, either. While I haven’t watched every full game yet, from the stats sheet the turnovers were an issue against the Wings and Rangers although you could also say that they had a few costly ones against the Penguins as well.

With Jumbo still recovering from his MCL injury, the Sharks aren’t doing very well in his absence, which doesn’t bode well for the inevitable day that comes when they have to part ways with the 38-year-old centerman (or when he retires). The rest of this season will be really interesting to see how the Sharks will fare down the road into the future.

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