Better luck next season: San Jose Sharks rebuild is here
The San Jose Sharks are the first team to be eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention during the 2022-23 NHL season.
Welcome to Better Luck Next Season. As each NHL team gets eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention, and then the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we will take a look at what went wrong, what went right, and what sits ahead for them. The San Jose Sharks, having been mathematically eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention this week, are first on on the list.
It is not really a surprise that the Sharks are missing the playoffs. It is a team that has been trending in the wrong direction for a couple of years now, it had an aging roster, some bad contracts, and the decision to bail on Brent Burns for almost nothing before the season was a pretty strong indicator they knew it was time to start tearing things down. Especially with a new front office and new head coach all coming in. They never fully committed to a rebuild at the start, especially not after re-signing Tomas Hertl to a long-term contract extension just this past season, but everything that transpired this season indicates that time has arrived.
It is however a little bit of a surprise that they are the first team in the NHL to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and are in contention for the worst record in the NHL. As of Friday, they are barely ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets in terms of points percentage (.377 for the Sharks and .366 for the Blue Jackets).
This is relatively uncharted territory for the Sharks, a franchise that has been a constant contender from almost the very beginning. This season is their fourth consecutive non-playoff season, which is by far the longest playoff drought in franchise history. Before this streak started the Sharks had only ever missed the playoffs in just six of their first 27 seasons, and four of those non-playoff seasons came in the first six years of their existence when they were still a playoff team.
Between 1997 and 2018 they were a playoff constant, and generally very good making some very deep runs in the Western Conference. Now it is time to seriously rebuild for the first time ever.
What went wrong for the Sharks
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