Updated October 2018.
The California Seals left the Bay Area in 1976 and the NHL was absent from the region until 1991. Because the partial owners of the Minnesota North Stars sold their shares to build the San Jose franchise, they were allowed to select a certain amount of players from Minnesota’s roster. In return, both clubs participated in the 1991 NHL Expansion Draft.
After qualifying for the playoffs through most of the 1990s, the Sharks did the unthinkable yet again. As the lowest seed, they beat the top-seeded St. Louis Blues in 2000, powered by the tough-guy antics of Owen Nolan.
The team went on to win two Pacific Division titles before the 2004-05 lockout, but only reached the Western Conference Final once.
After the lockout, the Sharks acquired marquee center Joe Thornton early in the 2005-06 season. The former Bruin went on to have a 114-point season in 2006-07.
An easy pick to contend for a top playoff spot every season, the Sharks fell on hard times in 2015 and did not qualify for the postseason for the first time in 11 campaigns. The following year, general manager Doug Wilson brought in a rookie starting goaltender (Martin Jones) and a veteran defenseman (Paul Martin) to round out the roster. It had the effect he was hoping for.
San Jose returned to the postseason as a third seed in the Pacific Division and played in the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Final. However, they lost in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Sharks continue to own one of the top rosters in the league. Although franchise-leader Patrick Marleau (508 goals, 1,082 points) moved on last summer, other dynamic weapons, such as Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl, have remained in the Bay area. The franchise continues to flirt with Stanley Cup dreams, as one of the most prolific scoring defensemen in recent league history, Erik Karlsson, was added this past summer and joins Brent Burns as likely the league’s top-scoring power-play pair. Along with Martin Jones in net, the Sharks are circling the waters, ready to attack the franchise’s second Stanley Cup Final appearance.
Feature photo courtesy Mike Dewald | Flickr
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