Where Do The San Jose Sharks Go From Here?


Mar 17, 2015; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler (26) celebrates his goal with teammates during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at MTS Centre. Winnipeg wins over San Jose 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks have been a battered group for the past week and they’ve got nobody to blame but themselves.

First, the spat between the team’s best player, Joe Thornton, and general manager, Doug Wilson, captured national attention. Next, the Sharks gave up four goals in the third period in a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. Finally, San Jose gave up three first period goals in their most important game of the season as the Winnipeg Jets cruised to an easy 5-2 victory, leaving the Sharks six points behind the Jets and five points behind the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division.

With only 12 games remaining, including six more on this seven-game road trip, the question lingering around the Sharks is: how does this season end?

It’s an intriguing question because this San Jose team is one with a lot of pride and one that has made the playoffs for 10 consecutive seasons. They don’t know what it’s like to miss the postseason but their playoff hopes are hanging by a very thin thread. As Kevin Kurz points out, the Sharks currently have a six percent chance of reaching the playoffs. Not exactly great odds.

The interesting thing to watch moving forward is how does this Sharks team respond to their current predicament. Does Todd McLellan give younger players more ice time now that their playoff chances are fading? Does San Jose answer by stringing together some wins on this road trip or do they pack it in and accept their fate?

Most fans want to see a desperate and determined Sharks team that will simply refuse to lose. Too often, this team folds when all the chips are pushed to the center of the table. San Jose’s performance in these final 12 games should give a glimpse into what next year’s Sharks team may look like and which players might not be around. And yes, for those wondering, Thornton and Patrick Marleau will be back next season.

Unfortunately, next year’s version of the San Jose Sharks will still be answering the same questions about their will to win since this team has not answered the bell. In all likelihood, these final 12 games will be meaningless from a standings perspective, but they will be key in the development of the young players on the roster and also important in establishing the leadership group moving forward.

While there isn’t much left to play for this season, there’s still plenty to be learned about this franchise as the 2014-15 season wraps up. Let’s see where the Sharks decide to go from here.

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