The San Jose Sharks didn’t have the look of a team resigned to watching its championship window close after handling the Anaheim Ducks 5-3 Monday night. Prior to the contest though, the Sharks’ future seemed up in air with the squad sitting 16 points behind Anaheim in the Pacific Division after topping this group the past four years running.
Then the bomb dropped: San Jose had traded away Douglass Murray, a key cog on defense over the past eight seasons, for the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ 2013 second-round pick and a conditional 2014 draft pick.
“This doesn’t take away our goal of trying to make the playoffs this year,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “We have high expectations for our group, and we’re not going to diminish those even as we go into a reset-and-refresh mode.”
Murray had become immensely popular in playing 50-plus games each of the past five seasons.
“San Jose has become home for me, and I’m leaving with an empty feeling with the teams we had here not getting it done,” Murray said. “But it’s extremely exciting going to Pittsburgh, going to the best team in the league already.”
Many are wondering if the sudden offensive outburst against Anaheim is the result of an alarm sounding; perhaps this prolific San Jose nucleus could be disbanded if a Stanley Cup isn’t brought home this year. The Sharks have certainly raised post-season expectations this decade, having totaled at least 105 points in five of the past seven seasons while reaching the Western Conference finals in 2010 and 2011.