Todd McLellan: Chemistry Biggest Priority for San Jose Sharks

Scott SemmlerAnalyst IIOctober 25, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 29:  Head coach Todd McLellan of the San Jose Sharks talks with his team during a time out from the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on March 29, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Sharks 2-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The San Jose Sharks have seemed just a little off ever since the trade that sent Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Brent Burns and Martin Havlat.

They seemed even more off when the team traded Jamie McGinn to Colorado in exchange for T.J. Galiardi and Daniel Winnik.

The unintentional result may have been the team's lack of chemistry on the ice.

Setoguchi was starting to fit in nicely on offense for the Sharks just before he left, especially after scoring six goals and two assists in the 2011 NHL playoff series against the Red Wings and Canucks.

Even McGinn was a locker room favorite with the team and best friends with Logan Couture.

The result was a disappointing 2011-12 season for the Sharks that saw rare chemistry from line to line and zero accountability.

Head coach Todd McLellan, whose job was arguably on the line after last season, went on HNIC radio in Canada to talk about the team's changes this offseason, as well as what went wrong last season.

I think we need to come together a little better as a team this year than we did last year.  Two years prior to that, we went to the final four, and we had a really good team environment and team unity was real strong. I thought last year there were times where guys cared a little too much and did things on their own. I have a huge responsibility as a coach to make sure we bring it all together.

We'll have a chance with some of our new additions, some kids from out minor league team, to come in a gel quickly, and then go from there.

It was obvious after the type of season San Jose had last year that improving chemistry was on their mind.

The Sharks signed Adam Burish in the offseason, a former college teammate of Joe Pavelski at the University of Wisconsin.

They also added defenseman Brad Stuart, a former Shark and long-time resident of San Jose where he wants to finish his career.  He will provide a veteran presence both on the ice and in the locker room.

That aspect of the game seemed to be lacking in San Jose last season, despite making Joe Thornton the captain over Patrick Marleau. It took a late surge for the Sharks to even make the playoffs before running into a far superior St. Louis Blues team in the first round of the playoffs.

With that much talent on the Sharks' roster, there was no thought of them struggling to make the playoffs, but they did.

A healthy Havlat and a hungry team coming off a season in which they underperformed should change all that.

The best place for the team to start would be solving the chemistry issue from a year ago, a topic McLellan feels is of utmost importance.

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