For the third straight season, the Sharks season ends with a loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Only this time, it's in the regular season. Both teams will miss the playoffs as the league experiences a transition year, where organizations like Calgary and Winnipeg are making their first appearances after years of coming up short.
A lot went wrong this season for the Sharks, something that we'll surely cover in this long offseason to come. But it isn't all bad. The Sharks will get their highest pick in the coming NHL Entry Draft since they selected Logan Couture 9th overall in 2007. With some help from Florida and Colorado later today, San Jose may end up picking as high as 9th overall with a 5.0% chance at Connor McDavid.
During the season, the Sharks got promising breakthroughs from rookies like Chris Tierney and Melker Karlsson. Tierney especially will be an integral piece for years to come. Joe Pavelski continued his goal-scoring production tallying nearly 40 goals again. Couture set new career highs. The Sharks stabilized their left defense hole by acquiring Brenden Dillon.
But ultimately, this season will be remembered for all the troubles that plagued the Sharks. Inconsistency. Bad defensive play. Bad goaltending. Bad penalty killing. Sophomore slumps from Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto. Patrick Marleau's steep decline. The public dispute between Joe Thornton and Doug Wilson. Losing to bad teams like Edmonton and Buffalo.
Now we can look to the future. It starts with the draft lottery rumored to be on April 18th. We can enjoy some playoff hockey in the coming months. And then we can focus on the 2015 Draft, which will be extremely important to the future of the team. Next comes the free agent frenzy, who will the Sharks let go and who will they bring in? Will they make any significant trades? Will Todd McLellan be fired? Doug Wilson? Will the front office decide to go into a real rebuild this year, or will they have playoff aspirations? Lot's of questions need to be answered this offseason.