The 2011-12 San Jose Sharks were carried to the playoffs by the usual suspects.
Joe Thornton had 59 assists, good for third in the NHL. Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski all scored at least 30 goals, making San Jose one of only two NHL teams (New Jersey) with such a trio of lamp lighters.
Dan Boyle finished eighth among defenseman with 48 points, and Antti Niemi posted a .915 save percentage in a whopping 68 starts.
So, behind their stars, San Jose made the playoffs for the eighth straight season.
However, unlike the last two years, San Jose lacked depth scoring, and the pressure on their stars was overwhelming. It hurt the team during the regular season, and they finished with their lowest point total (96) since 2002-03.
The pressure became far too much during the playoffs, as San Jose failed to advance past the first round after Conference Finals appearances during the previous two postseasons.
Those past successes were no doubt greatly due to the Sharks secondary scoring, as the 2009-10 team's third line featured Manny Malhotra and Logan Couture, while the 2010-11 third line was centered by Joe Pavelski. The highest scoring third-liner on last year's team was Michal Handzus.
Entering the 2012-13 season, San Jose still—on paper—lacks the depth scoring necessary to compete for Lord Stanley's Cup. But with offseason still ahead and an unpredictable season yet to unfold, there is still time for the Sharks to make this problem go away.