Once an epicenter for success, the San Jose Sharks are fighting through tough waters this season, and those tough waters do not seem to be calming anytime soon.
The San Jose Sharks were a powerhouse in the National Hockey League. This was a franchise that year after year was competitive, with players like Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, and Patrick Marleau leading the way. But that core is no more, as Thornton is the last one remaining on the team and his returns questionable after his one-year deal expires at the end of this season.
Just last season, the Sharks were able to finish second in the Pacific Division, losing to the ultimate Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Final.
But this season has been a complete wash, and the light at the end of the tunnel is rather dim. After 70 games played, the Sharks have played to a 29-36-5 record, which puts them 29th in the league.
For starters, a reason for this putrid record is that the Sharks lost their best weapon in centerman Joe Pavelski, who decided that after 13 years it was time to move on. The 35-year-old wanted to join a team that was more suited for a Stanley Cup run, something he did not believe could be achieved in California.
Joining the Dallas Stars looked to be the right move, as the Sharks have not been competitive this season at all.
Looking at this team on paper, this team is filled with talent, and while that talent maybe a little older, there is no reason that this team should be in last place in the Western Conference. With many long term deals on the books, some paying off, some not even close, this leaves an issue in improving this club via free agency.
With seven players locked up for big money over the next five years or longer, this is the group the team must find success with. Here’s how they can bounce back next season.