Sharks preview: Rankings, predictions, playoff chances and more

With the addition of Erik Karlsson, the Sharks signaled that they're all-in for a Stanley Cup run this season. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With the 2018-19 season fast approaching, we're running snapshots of all 31 NHL teams, including point total projections, positional previews, best- and worst-case scenarios and more.

The San Jose Sharks made the splash of the summer in trading for Erik Karlsson, in the hopes he can drive them to a Stanley Cup.

How they finished in 2017-18: 45-27-10 (100 points), finished 12th in the NHL, 3rd in the Pacific Division

The Sharks made the playoffs for the third straight season, sweeping the Ducks and then falling to the Vegas Golden Knights in six games. They added Evander Kane at the trade deadline and subsequently signed him to a long-term deal. But the upgrades would extend into the summer, as the Sharks made their pitch for John Tavares, falling short ... and then waited out the field to land Erik Karlsson for a rather reasonable price. Marc-Edouard Vlasic believes this team could be better than the one that went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016.

Over/under projected point total (per the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook): 97.5

Best-case scenario: Having Karlsson and Brent Burns playing close to 55 minutes combined per game gives the Sharks an insurmountable advantage on the blue line.

Worst-case scenario: In a worst-case scenario, this team isn't necessarily a lock to make the playoffs. In a wide-open Pacific Division, the Sharks are just trying to swim above water. This would likely be due to a big injury. Say it isn't Joe Thornton, again.

Forward overview: The Sharks are loaded in the top six. Thornton, 39, is back and likely centering Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane on the top line. Logan Couture, coming off a 34-goal season, will skate with Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier. Joonas Donskoi and Kevin Leblanc add some offensive pop down the lineup, but the Sharks could use some tinkering with the bottom six. NHL rank: 7th

Defense overview: Karlsson, Burns and Vlasic are as good a defensive trio as you're going to find in hockey. Brenden Dillon and Justin Braun provide solid support, with Joakim Ryan and Tim Heed in the wings. NHL rank: 1st

Goalie overview: Martin Jones posted a .915 save percentage and a 30-22-6 record with four shutouts. He runs hot and cold; when it's the latter temperature, Aaron Dell (.914 save percentage) is a capable backup. NHL rank: 10th

Special teams: The Sharks were 16th in the NHL on the power play, with a 20.6 percent conversion rate, but one assumes a full season of Kane and the addition of Karlsson will increase that proficiency. The Sharks were second in the NHL on the penalty kill (84.8 percent).

Pipeline overview: The Sharks took a big bet in the first round on exceptionally skilled defenseman Ryan Merkley. The team typically drafts late in the first round, and they want to take more shots. If Merkley pans out, they'll look really smart. Having just traded away Josh Norris and Rudolfs Balcers in the trade to get Karlsson, there isn't much depth to speak of. In fact, that bumped them down a couple of spots in the pipeline rankings. But hey, they have Karlsson now, and everyone else doesn't. Read more -- Chris Peters

Fantasy nugget: Frankly, this is probably the happiest Kane has ever been in his pro career: playing on a top scoring line with a legit playoff contender in affably temperate Santa Clara County. If this past season's small sample size with the Sharks (nine goals and five assists in 17 games) proves indicative, Kane is on track for a blockbuster campaign. But injuries have historically been an issue, as have other dressing-room and off-ice concerns. Fantasy managers with stronger stomachs will want to jump on the 27-year-old dynamite scorer eagerly and early. Other more conservative types might not. Read more -- Victoria Matiash

Coach on the hot seat? Peter DeBoer has made the playoffs in each of his seasons in San Jose and continues to have a good handle on when to put the pedal down and when to give his team some leeway.

Bold prediction: Burns outscores Karlsson.