Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider is taking the temperature of key players on every NHL team, continuing with the San Jose Sharks. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.
Summer Skate -- San Jose Sharks
Though the team has missed the postseason only once since Tomas Hertl, their first-round draft pick this year, was 4 years old, 2011-12 was still a disappointing season for the Sharks. San Jose had enjoyed two consecutive appearances in the final four, five straight 100-point seasons, the last four of which were first-place Pacific Division finishes -- all snapped with a second-place, 96-point finish and first-round exit.
The Sharks are nevertheless a strong playoff-bound team, with three 30-goal scorers last season (Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski), and they are arguably the favorite to regain the Pacific Division title, though with Los Angeles as their chief rival this time instead of Phoenix.
Trending up: RW/LW Ryane Clowe
Last season: 8.0 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 7.7 GVT
Yes, you read that correctly. The projection is less than Clowe's 2011-12 production. But the choice to call out Clowe isn't so much about what VUKOTA sees, as what it doesn't see.