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Southern California’s professional hockey team based out of San Jose has been lighting the lamp in NHL arenas around North America since 1991. The Sharks have come a long way since their humble beginnings, struggling for each win and to put fans in the seats. They have put up a winning record for the last 13 straight seasons and made the playoffs 19 times in their 25 seasons in the league. However, despite all of their success, they have only managed one postseason run deep enough to reach the finals, losing following the 2015-2016 season to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. After an early exit from the playoffs last season, expect the Sharks to come roaring into the new season with a renewed tenacity that will have opponents afraid to go back onto the ice.
Taking a number of players from the Minnesota North Stars (in a deal with their ownership) and filling in the rest of the roster from the expansion draft, the San Jose Sharks started play in the fall of 1991. Their first ever draft pick, Pat Falloon, led the team in scoring but they managed only 17 wins. Dropping to 11 wins in their second season, the Sharks were not off to a good start. In fact, it would not be until the 1999-2000 season that they would post their first winning record.
Acquiring key pieces with players like Evgeni Navokov, Teemu Selanne, and Adam Graves to go along with players like Owen Nolan, Todd Harvey, Vincent Damphousse, Mike Ricci, and a young Patrick Marleau the Sharks just could not seem to get over the hump. Ron Wilson took over the team but the results were the same. He was fired in 2008 and replaced with Todd McLellan who, despite lasting until 2015, also could not get the team to reach the next plateau.
Peter DeBoer took over coaching duties in the summer of 2015 and immediately brought the team to new heights. For the first time in their existence, the Sharks represented the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. Though the exhaustive series ended in six games with a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Sharks proved they can make a deep and serious playoff push.
After an unceremonious exit in the first round last season, DeBoer and the Sharks are ready to put themselves back on the map and make another run for the cup. They will have to do so without Patrick Marleau, who has left the team to play in Toronto after being with the Sharks since 2002. Retained as captain is Joe Pavelski, another longtime Shark, along with alternate captains Joe Thornton and Logan Couture. Defensively, the Sharks are led by Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Paul Martin. Martin Jones is the starter between the pipes in goal for San Jose.
A number of great players have played in San Jose in their more than quarter-century existence including Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Owen Nolan, Evgeni Nabokov, Dan Boyle, and Arturs Irbe, Additional information pertaining to the San Jose Sharks and their organization can be obtained by clicking here.