San Jose Sharks ‘Poised’ For Return To Playoffs


February 27, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings goalie Martin Jones (31) defends the goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

For the past year-and-a-half, the San Jose Sharks have received their fair-share of criticism for their actions both on-and-off the ice.

Starting with the on-ice product, the Sharks blew a 3-0 lead against the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. Then, San Jose began the 2014-15 regular season fairly well, siting in second place in the division for the first half of the year.

However, it all came crumbling down in February when the Sharks won just three games and lost every home game during that month. San Jose would limp to the finish and miss the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons.

Off the ice, general manager Doug Wilson did little to win over any fans. He stripped Joe Thornton of the captaincy prior to the 2014-15 season, and then publicly revealed his reasoning to which Thornton was none to happy, and his only meaningful signing was John Scott.

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All of this led Scott Burnside of ESPN to label the Sharks as Team Trainwreck. However, in that same article, Burnside referred to San Jose as one of five teams who appear likely for a return to the postseason.

Burnside highlights the signings of veterans Paul Martin and Joel Ward who are both proven playoff performers. But the biggest diference maker was the acquisition of Martin Jones from the Boston Bruins. Here’s what Burnside had to say with regards to Jones:

"Not much of a body of work to judge Jones by, but the scouting reports are excellent and, if he can deliver on the promise as the new San Jose starter, the Sharks will definitely be back on track for a return to the postseason."

Of the three offseason pieces added, Jones will be facing the most pressure as he assumes the number-one role for the first time in his NHL career. The Sharks are gambling on Jones’ potential and it’s certainly one worth taking.

San Jose needs a few bounce back seasons from key personnel, along with continued growth of some of their younger players if they want to challenge in the highly competitive Pacific Division and Western Conference.

But unlike last season, the Sharks appear to have all the requisite pieces in place to return to the postseason.

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