32 Teams In 32 Days: San Jose Sharks
The steps before a rebuild....
In Today’s 32 Team outlook we examine the San Jose Sharks, a team that looks like it is on the verge of a rebuild, but has not quite taken the dive into it yet.
Be sure to check out yesterday’s look at the Nashville Predators, the NHL’s most consistently average team.
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This is uncharted territory for the San Jose Sharks.
Outside of their first couple of years as an expansion team, they have been one of the most consistently competitive franchises in the NHL.
During their 31-year existence they have missed the playoffs just nine times, and starting with the 1997-98 season (a span of 25 years) they have the seventh most regular season wins and the fifth most playoff wins in the NHL . Bet you would not have guessed they were that high on the latter list.
In other words, they are usually good. Really good. They consistently make the playoffs, they consistently advance beyond the first round, and they regularly have found themselves far into the playoffs. The only thing they have not done is actually win the Stanley Cup, despite getting close several times (a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2015-16 and four other Western Conference Finals trips).
But for the first time in franchise history that success has started to slip away.
The 2021-22 season was the Sharks’ third straight non-playoff season, and there does not seem to be much hope they are going to be back anytime soon.
Keep in mind, in the first 28 years of the team’s existence they only missed the playoffs six times, never more than two years in a row, and only twice in consecutive seasons. Most of those non-playoff seasons (four of them, to be exact) all came within the first six years of the franchise’s existence. Once the team got on its feet and established itself, it started winning and never really stopped.
It now puts the Sharks, and its fanbase, on the verge of something it has never really had to experience before.
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