The San Jose Sharks are really good. It’s a bit of an understatement considering they have only missed the playoffs twice since 2000 (2002-2003 and 2014-2015). But the vibe around San Jose is that this team might finally be “the team”. The team to finally bring the Stanley Cup to the Bay Area.
Frankly, it’s a shame that the Bay Area doesn’t embrace hockey, but I do understand why. It’s hockey, they play in San Jose, and the Warriors’ success doesn’t help once football ends. But when the Warriors were not cracking the playoffs back in the early 2000s, while the Sharks were almost a lock to get in, where was the media attention?
The Sharks’ general manager Doug Wilson is definitely going for it this time. The bar was set when they acquired Erik Karlsson from Ottawa back in September. The team was already loaded with star power, but with names that only seem to be household in the South Bay. Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, and Evander Kane among others should have more recognition among active Bay Area players.
Their play on the ice certainly shows their skill as they are currently the second-best team in the Western Conference, behind division rival Calgary Flames. San Jose also boasts five players ( Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane, Logan Couture, Timo Meier) who have scored at least 20 goals each; only the Columbus Blue Jackets can match that total.
The Sharks also have great individual talent like Brent Burns who continues to dominate among other defensemen in the league with 70 points. Center Joe Thornton is also an exceptional player with 13 goals and 23 assists.
San Jose’s biggest showcase came while they were on a four game Canadian road trip where they went undefeated. It started with only one game coming back from the All-Star break that was held in San Jose, but normally the Sharks have had a history of flopping come the “dog days” of a season, especially on the road. That narrative was slammed shut with the first two wins coming against the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary, who are top 5 teams in the Western Conference.
The only knock that San Jose might have going into the playoffs will be the goaltending lead by Martin Jones and Aaron Dell. Starter Jones has been prone to let in soft goals that could be saved by other goalies in the league. Trade rumors were that Wilson might go out and get Anaheim Ducks backup and former Team USA goalie Ryan Miller.
That trade didn’t happen, but two acquisitions were made before the trade deadline with the team picking up Micheal Haley off waivers and trading for Swedish forward Gustav Nyquist from Detroit Red Wings.
Bay Area, we are more than just the Warriors. It’s time to embrace the San Jose Sharks. And there is no better time than right now in March, so when the playoffs come, not just San Jose will be Sharks Playoff Territory.