My Two Cents: Sharks Re-Sign Wingels, Hannan; Move-On with “Moneyball” Approach

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Apr 30, 2014; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin (52) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Sharks Quietly Look Ahead- The San Jose Sharks have officially moved on from last season as a franchise. Though tough to do considering how the last season ultimately ended, realistically they have no other choice but to move on. The focus seemingly has come off of winning a Stanley Cup. The Sharks as a franchise are looking to put together a team of the right players that will guide them forward into next season and beyond. The Sharks started out with a draft that for the most part found some players that have the potential to impact the Sharks within the next few seasons. The Sharks also took the “Moneyball” approach to free agency and by doing so found a couple of players that will each bring something to the ice. Make no mistake, 2014-15 will be as much about growing pains as it will about being as competitive as they can be given the room under their salary cap structure. As a Sharks fan, Stanley Cup thoughts are nice but right now is simply not the time for that. It  may come down the road and fans (including myself) need to accept that it may be a couple of seasons before the Sharks are truly at that level again. That said, it does not mean the Sharks can’t or won’t compete. They are all professionals and are some of the best in the world at what they do. If the franchise is going to move forward, the Sharks are at least taking the approach of trying not to live in the past. What’s done is done at this point and the Sharks have taken the approach of looking ahead and build towards the future. It’s in the best interest of the franchise when all things are weighed and considered.

The good news about all of this is that the Sharks will be moving towards a young core with Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Tommy Wingels, Mark Eduoard-Vlasic and Brent Burns leading the way. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will still be important role players on the team, however the leadership will no longer be completely in their hands. Team Teal will more than likely drop below the 111 points from last season and that is to be expected. The Sharks at this point are still a playoff team, though a lower seeding between sixth and eight in the Western Conference is about where they will land by the end of the regular season. As far as the post season goes, getting out of the first round especially with having to go through the division will be a tall order at best. If the Sharks seed seventh or eighth, they may draw a first round opponent out of the Pacific Division; going through most likely Chicago or St Louis will again be a lot to ask of this team. This is the landscape as it is now for Team Teal.