The San Jose Sharks have a history of collapses, but last season might have been the worst yet. It could carry into this season, so avoid their NHL odds and futures.
What Went Wrong Last Season?
The Sharks have made the playoffs every season since 2003 and last season's first-round series against their rivals from Los Angeles was going swimmingly with a 3-0 series lead. Then, both teams seemed to remember who they were and the Kings roared back to beat the Sharks in seven games for the second year in a row. What went wrong is a very pertinent question and no one seems to know the answer. It seems as though the Sharks have a problem with leadership and when the going gets tough, they shrink and cower despite having a very talented team that has been together for a few years now.
It wasn't just that the Sharks lost, but it was how they lost. San Jose were outscored 18-8 over the last four games of the series and in the deciding game at home, the Sharks were embarrassed 5-1 by the Kings, who of course went on to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons. They would do well to watch the Kings and how they handle pressure situations, but this San Jose team just might not be built for this.
The biggest changes that the Sharks made came off the ice with the decision to keep Todd McLellan behind the bench as the head coach, and the decision to take the captaincy away from Joe Thornton. McLellan has been in charge of the Sharks for six seasons now and going into the seventh, he has to be on thin ice. Removing the "C" from Thornton was a massive move, especially as the veteran center was on the trading block for most of the summer. This move could galvanize the Sharks, or go incredibly wrong.
On the ice, the Sharks wanted to get younger and more aggressive, which meant there was no room for Brad Stuart and Dan Boyle on the blue line. There will be more time for Tommy Wingels and Jason Demers, who signed extensions, but those don't sound like signings that will put you over the top.
The Sharks choked in the playoffs again and then promised wholesale changes. Then they failed to make any notable changes whatsoever. There’s no reason to believe they’ll have any playoff success, so avoid all of those playoff futures. In terms of regular season win totals NHL odds, those seem risky too as the Sharks could go in the tank. We don’t know how they’ll respond after another debilitating playoff choke. And if they do stumble, it could get ugly quickly with the team selling off veterans for parts. When making your NHL picks keep in mind, they’ll probably be about the same as they were last season but that’s their ceiling. Their floor is much lower.
NHL Pick: Eliminated in the first round of the playoffs