The San Jose Sharks have a decision to make during the All Star break regarding the direction the team takes in the second half of the season. Do they go all in and try to somehow grasp that last playoff place? Or do they sell off assets and try to rebuild?
In regards to option one, the Sharks currently sit 12 points behind the Canucks after their 4-1 lost in Vancouver on Saturday. Vancouver currently hold the last Western Conference wildcard playoff spot.
As for option two, they have no first round pick in the upcoming draft, having traded theirs to the Ottawa Senators as part of the a late for Defenseman Erik Karlsson in Setember 2018. Add that to the fact that a complete rebuild has never been the modus operandi of General Manager Doug Wilson and it’s unlikely they start this season. Then the question becomes where do they go from here?
If they want to push for a playoff place their offense needs upgrading, a fact not helped by captain and leading point scorer Logan Couture’s absence for the next six or so weeks due to injury. They sit 26th out of 31 teams with 123 goals scored so far this season. The teams below them include Anaheim Ducks, LA Kings, New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings. Not exactly the company you want to keep.
The fifth team below them in goals scored is the Dallas Stars who currently sit third in the Central Division. The difference between the Stars and Sharks right now is Dallas, while not high scorers (123 goals), don’t concede at the rate Sharks do (118 versus 166 goals against at 5v5).
San Jose have gone all out in previous years with signings such as Evander Kane and Gustav Nyquist added as a final push towards Stanley Cup glory and it’s possible they look to do so again before the deadline on February 24th. Unfortunately a winners parade has evaded them so far, even with those additions, and all the Sharks have to show for it is a cap hit aging team that could find itself out of the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators watch on cheering for a Sharks collapse in the hopes of two high draft picks this year to bolster their rebuilding organization, thanks to the above mentioned Karlsson trade.