The Sharks last season failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since the 2014-15 season. Things aren't looking too much brighter this season, too.
Though Monday night's 2-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights snapped a three-game win streak by the Sharks, San Jose now is 11-12-3 this season. That puts them in seventh place in the stacked West Division, making the playoffs unlikely for the second straight season. So, what stage are the Sharks in as an organization right now?
General manager Doug Wilson recently had some revealing comments before the Sharks' game against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.
"For very simple reasons. We were gonna reset," Wilson said when asked why the Sharks weren't buyers over the offseason. "That meant giving our younger player the opportunities. That's the mode that we're in right now. You want the Patty Marleaus, the Stef Noesens, the Marcus Sorensens, but you want opportunities for our young players to play. That is the mode that we're in. We wanted to make sure that we replenished our system in the draft and that's why we used all nine of those picks. We didn't use those picks to go get players from the outside.
"That's where we're at. We fully understand that this was a year that a lot of the teams in the league are going through, and it is a unique year with the pandemic going on, that that was the decision that we made."
This doesn't exactly mean the Sharks are going into tank mode. But it's clear Wilson has his sights set on the future.
Wilson has to be a realist with this squad. He still expects the big names to play their part, but young skaters must prove they belong on the ice in the NHL. That's mindset he's carrying into the April 12 NHL trade deadline.
San Jose Sharks
"It's like the upcoming trade deadline. I'm not going to be trading our first-round pick," Wilson said. "The replenishment of the nine picks in the last draft, the upcoming draft is important. That's the window and phase that we're in with this team and we expect our core players to elevate their games and re-establish it. We expect the young players to get opportunities ... that's the window and that's how we're approaching this season."
While Wilson will look to build through the draft this year, will the Sharks be buyers or sellers in the offseason? There's a long way to go until then, but Wilson is being real with how he sees this Sharks team, and his mind seems set on next season and beyond.