The San Jose Sharks entered the 2019-20 season with expectations of making a long playoff run — or, at the very least, making the playoffs. Unfortunately, they were one of the seven clubs on the outside looking in at the 24-team 2020 postseason bubbles.
There is a lot of talent remaining on the roster, though the team said goodbye to franchise icon Joe Thornton this offseason. Here’s what to expect heading into the 2020-21 campaign:
Big question: Is the window closed?
By any measure, last season was a disaster. The Sharks went from an appearance in the Western Conference finals to their lowest points percentage (.450) since 2002-03 — and Ottawa owned their first-round draft pick, too! Coach Peter DeBoer was fired 23 games in, replaced by new head coach Bob Boughner. Injuries ravaged the lineup, while most of the healthy players saw their stats decline. They played bad defensively in front of putrid goaltending.
Is there any reason for hope in 2020-21? With better health, better team defense and a supporting cast that’s a year older and better, maybe. But playing their first season since 2006 without either Joe Thornton or Joe Pavelski on the roster, it’s worth asking if the Sharks’ time as a contender is over.