NHL Odds & Pick for Jets vs. Sharks: Can San Jose Begin Season on Right Note? (Oct. 16)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Morrissey
- San Jose opens its season at home against Winnipeg on Saturday.
- The Jets have already suffered defeat and face a Sharks team that is predicted to struggle this season.
- Check out Nicholas Martin's breakdown and top pick for the game, below.
Jets vs. Sharks Odds
|Time||Saturday, 10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Winnipeg Jets opened the season in disappointing fashion, losing 4-1 to the longshot Anaheim Ducks. Winnipeg now heads to the Shark Tank to take on San Jose, another team that is unlikely to contend this year.
The Sharks finished seventh in the West Divison in 2020/21, though there is some hope that they can hang around the playoff picture in the soft Pacific Division.
San Jose Sharks
Most of San Jose’s core carries over from last season, though the Sharks should be confident in an upgrade in goal with Adin Hill and James Reimer coming in for Martin Jones, Devan Dubnyk and Josef Korenar.
As I explain here, I believe there were more reasons than just bad goaltending for the Sharks’ underperforming compared to their expected goals data last season. A lot of San Jose’s sloppy defensive play doesn’t show up in the models, so it’s possible that the Sharks were given a bit of a pass and the bad goaltending narrative took over.
The Sharks will still roll with Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson as their No. 1 pairing on defense and, while a very likable and entertaining duo, they do allow a lot of quality scoring chances against.
San Jose’s offensive core will revolve around Logan Couture, Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl. There are also some promising rookies like Jonathan Dahlen and William Eklund, but I still feel it is unlikely that this attack takes significant strides forward compared to last season.
Eklund certainly figures to be a huge positive for the club, as there are many who believe he was the steal of the 2021 NHL Draft at No. 7 overall. That take is looking quite accurate, as the young Swede has shown very well throughout the preseason and in camp en route to claiming a spot in the top six at just 19 years old.
Altogether I have a hard time seeing the Sharks improving too much compared to last season, and I would say the expectation for the group to be a lottery team again is very fair.
The Jets season-opening defeat at the hands of a Ducks team unlikely to be inside the playoff picture was a little surprising to be sure, but realistically the effort wasn’t as bad as the 4-1 scoreline suggests, and goes as a good reminder about how competitive the league is top-to-bottom.
The Jets lost the expected goals battle, 2.76-2.92, in what was definitely not their best effort, but obviously it’s only one game and the roster is still a favorite to grab a playoff spot out of the Central Division.
Mark Scheifele sat out Wednesday’s contest due to suspension, but will return Saturday and joins a Jets top-six forward group likely to be in the league’s upper-third production-wise alongside Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers, Blake Wheeler, and Pierre-Luc Dubois.
The Jets brought in Nate Schmidt, and Brendon Dillon this summer to help bolster what was a very concerning defense core last season. Compared to what was there during the playoff loss last season, this pair should go as considerable upgrades in helping to support all-world goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
Hellebuyck should almost certainly draw the second start of the year Saturday, as I can’t imagine head coach Paul Maurice doesn’t go back to his starter trying to claim the season’s first victory here.
Sharks vs. Jets Pick
There are a lot of valid arguments as to why Winnipeg will finish the season well above the Sharks in the standings, and yet the Jets have opened as a slight underdog on DraftKings at -105. So naturally I see some value backing the Jets at that price, and would do so quickly as I think that come game-time Winnipeg will be closer to -130.
I expect a bounce-back game from the Jets offensively, as this this should set up well for the Jets talented forwards to cause problems against a San Jose defense that has issues managing the puck both in transition and against the forecheck.
I don’t think we’ll see another matchup between these two teams that opens with this kind of price, so hopefully this one goes our way.
Pick: Winnipeg -130 or better