The San Jose Sharks have become notorious for their inability to find success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs over the last several years. Regardless of where they end up in terms of seeding, they’re never able to put it together and find that elusive first Stanley Cup title in franchise history, the only California club without one to their name.
Early on this season, the Sharks are looking like a legitimate Stanley Cup contender once again. There’s still a long way to go this year, of course, but they’ve won each of their first two games and have outscored their opponents, each a Western Conference playoff contender, by a score of 8-2.
It’s impossible to call a team a Stanley Cup favorite after just two games. It’s even more impossible to do it when that team plays in the Western Conference. But what the Sharks have done is announce that they are still one of the West’s top contenders, and they’ll be in the mix to run away with the Pacific Division.
Don’t forget, as big of a failure as this organization has been in the playoffs over the last several years, they’re still loaded. They employ the likes of Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, and Joe Pavelski up front, among others, Dan Boyle on the blue line, and Vezina Trophy finalist Antti Niemi. Those are the mainstays.
On paper, this team is even better than it has been in years past. The core is still there, but they went out and added Tyler Kennedy, who should be a solid fit, in addition to adding youngster, and 2012 draft pick Tomas Hertl, who scored two goals in the Sharks’ second game of the season.
This Sharks team is a very real threat to capture the Stanley Cup. If they can remain healthy, they’re as talented offensively as anybody in the league, and have one of the game’s top netminders between the pipes.
At the end of the day, what they accomplish during the regular season is irrelevant. They’ve found success before in the regular season, and it has meant nothing. The Sharks need to find success in the postseason, or they run the risk of an overhaul by the time next summer rolls around. It is absolutely Stanley Cup or bust for them this season.