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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 14 straight seasons and made the playoffs 20 times in their 26 seasons in the league. However, despite all of their success, they have only managed one postseason run deep enough to reach the final round, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games following the 2015-2016 season. In the next two seasons to follow, the Sharks have yet to reach further than the second round, but expect them to come roaring after the 2018-2019 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 Nabokov, 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 in 2017, DeBoer and the Sharks exited in the second round of the 2018 playoffs at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights. However, the energy at the SAP Center in San Jose has inspired this team to put themselves back on the map as a contender and make another run for the cup. They do so under the leadership of Captain Joe Pavelski along with alternate captains Joe Thornton (signed in the offseason to a one year deal) and Logan Couture (signed in the offseason to an 8 year deal). Tomas Hertl solidified his standing with the club with a new four year deal in the offseason worth $22.5 million. Evander Kane joined the team for the 2017-2018 campaign and put up solid numbers in the teal and black uniform. Defensively, the Sharks are led by Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Martin Jones is the starter between the pipes in goal for San Jose.
A consummate star in the NHL joined the club this offseason. Perennial all-star and longtime Ottawa Senators team captain Erik Karlsson was traded to the Sharks for a number of prospects. Making an immediate impact, Karlsson has a huge presence, not only on the blue line at defense, but also in the offensive zone where he shows off his versatile talents. Gustav Nyquist joined the squad from Detroit at the trade deadline and brings a wealth of experience that will come in handy for the playoffs.
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.