San Jose is coming off a nightmare of a postseason, losing to the Kings after dominating the first 3 games and becoming the 3rd team to lose after leading 3-0 in a series. I expect them to be just as good this year. If they choke again, though, I can either see a rebuild or a coaching change.
On May 15, the Sharks tweeted Doug Wilson explaining, “When you enter into this type of phase, no options are off the table. You explore everything.” They also tweeted Wilson saying, “Every one of our young players will be given a chance to take whatever role they want … they can take it, in all positions.” After this I was expecting a rebuild and not as successful of a team, yet here we are with 15 days to go and there isn’t any significant change. I’m guessing they changed their mindset once July came around.
Brent Burns will likely return to defense to replace Dan Boyle, although that will weaken the top nine for the Sharks. The fourth line is average with Mike Brown, John Scott, and Adam Burish, so lack of depth could be a problem. That being said, they still hold a formidable team heading into the season. Depth could definitely be worse.
I expect them to finish third in the Pacific division and end up facing Los Angeles once again in the postseason.