The 26 year old Vlasic was expected to breakout in the 2012-13 season but finished with a mediocre 7 points (3g, 4a) and +5 +/- in 47 games. Through 5 games, Vlasic already has 5 points (2g, 3a) and +8 +/-. It took him 21 games to get 5 points last season and he already has that many in 5 games. Marc-Edouard has been called,"Niklas Lidstrom without the offense", because of his defensive prowess. Ever since his rookie season in 2006-07, where he scored 36 points (6g, 30a), his point totals have went down each year. However, this season seems different. Even in 2006-07, Vlasic never looked as comfortable offensively as he is now. I wouldn't be surprised if he surpassed his career high of 36 points and had the first 40-point season of his career and with all the signs, it looks like he will.
8 points (7g, 1a) and +7 +/- through 5 games. Those stats are great enough but when you take into consideration that it was done by a 19 year old teenager in the first season of his NHL career, they're even more magnificent. His name is Tomas Hertl folks and I'm sure you've all heard about him. The 2nd youngest player to record a 4-goal game?
Yes, that Tomas Hertl. Even before the 4-goal game, he was already pegged as the next Jaromir Jagr and he had big shoes to fill. He has filled in those shoes quite well, to say the least. Tomas Hertl has scored a goal in 4 out of the 5 games and even in the 1 game he didn't score, he had 2 opportunities on breakaways that he unfortunately couldn't finish. Other than his amazing offense, Hertl isn't a bad defensive player either. He has found a nice niche on the top line, playing LW alongside Joe Thornton and Brent Burns and his future looks bright, along with the Sharks. Tomas Hertl is a lock for around 25 goals, give or take, this season and has a really good chance for 30.
Hertl's linemate, RW Brent Burns, has done an admirable job ever since changing positions in the 2nd half of last season. The former blueliner has tallied 26 points (12g, 14 a) in 28 games playing as a Forward. He has built a strong chemistry with Joe Thornton and that has helped catapult his production. Burns will easily reach the 60-point plateau this season, with a pretty good chance to get 70, if everything goes well.
To add to these three breakout players, Logan Couture is only getting further on his development and has improved each and every season he's been in the NHL. He's a lock for 70 points this season, with an outside chance at 80. As far as Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski go, they'll get you around 75 (20g, 55a), 60 (30g, 30a) and 65 points (25-30g, 35-40a) respectively, also adding their own element to the game. Not to mention, Anti Niemi, who was stellar for the Sharks in the 2012-13 season and is/will be for the 2013-14 season.
I've been burned in the past for saying this but yes, I think the San Jose Sharks are for real and have an outside shot at the Stanley Cup. They're built on outstanding offense and goaltending, as well as a defense that ranks in the upper half of the league and that is a recipe to win the Cup. I'm not going out on a limb here and predicting that the San Jose Sharks will win it all this year but who knows, they just might.