San Jose Sharks

The Sharks come into the year after putting together their best season in franchise history. This team is better than the one that went to its first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history, assuming the old dudes (Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau) don’t sharply regress this season.

That being said, so many things need to go right for a team to make a deep playoff run that expectations shouldn’t be Cup or Bust. This is a very good hockey team, but a good one last year only finished third in the Pacific. The Sharks are contenders again, and with Marleau and Thornton in the last year of their contracts, it’s looking like now or never.

— Jacob Sundstrom

THREE QUESTIONS

  1. Can the Sharks make a deep run after playing into June last year?

  2. Will Martin Jones experience a sophomore slump?

  3. Is this the last time we see Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton in teal?


BEST CAST SCENARIO

by Jacob Sundstrom

The Sharks take an improved roster and build on what they did last year by going back to the Stanley Cup Final and sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins while Thornton wins the Conn Smythe.

WORST CASE SCENARIO

by Aaron Polevoi

The Sharks get out of the gate slow to start the season in a jam-packed Pacific Division, quickly finding themselves near the bottom of the standings. While Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture start off the season on a good note, the rest of the Sharks falter. Thornton’s age starts to show and his production is cut in half. Martin Jones loses his confidence in net and there’s talk of benching him midseason for Aaron Dell while Tomas Hertl struggles playing center against other teams.

Realizing they won’t make the playoffs, Doug Wilson decides to sell during the trade deadline and the Sharks unload Patrick Marleau, Joel Ward, and Paul Martin while rumors swirl about Thornton and Brent Burns’ futures with the team. Wilson, failing to make the playoffs after a Stanley Cup Final appearance, loses his job while Peter DeBoer mercifully keeps his.