The problems that lingered during the regular season were amplified in their playoff series with the Blues—mainly their lack of scoring depth.
There is a huge pressure on the stars to score, and if they don't come through, the team will lose.
The Sporting News reported Aug. 4 that the Sharks were the frontrunner to land long-time Coyote captain Shane Doan.
Doan would add even more firepower to a star-studded roster. It would also allow the coaching staff to move Joe Pavelski to another line, adding a significant amount of depth.
However, Doan is far from a lock to land in San Jose. He has had many suitors pursuing him this offseason, and in the end, he may end up staying put in Phoenix with the franchise that drafted him seventh overall in the 1995 draft.
According to Doan's agent, Terry Bross at azcentral.com, Doan is expected to make a decision before Sept.15:
Shane is going to sign a contract before the CBA expires on the 15th. (Ownership has to) be done before the 15th, otherwise we're signing somewhere because we don't know what the new CBA is going to look like, and I don't know if it's going to limit any scope of a contract, so we want to make sure we sign before then.
If Doan does not end up in a Sharks sweater next year, what moves could the team make to improve in free agency? Here are five solid free-agent pickups that could be backup plans if Doan does not become a Shark this offseason.
Jason Arnott is 37 and isn't getting any younger. He hasn't hit the 50-point plateau since the 2007-08 season and has been with three teams the last three years.
While his production has waned, Arnott could be a solid third liner—exactly what the Sharks need. He is listed as a center, but he could play left wing, or the Sharks could move Michal Handzus or Andrew Desjardins out wide.
Arnott is a savvy veteran and could play a huge role in the locker room as a leader. He had 17 goals and 17 assists in a Blues uniform last year and put up a plus-16 rating.
Tom Kostopoulos is probably best known for his cheap shot on Brad Stewart that broke his jaw, but his scrappy play is something that the Sharks are missing on their fourth line.
He's recorded over 700 penalty minutes in 11 NHL seasons and has more than 400 hits in the last four seasons.
Ryane Clowe is a capable enforcer but is also able to put up big numbers. He does not need to be in the box.
Kostopoulos is not scared to stand up for his teammates and would be an essential cog in the Sharks lineup.
By no standards is he a Shane Doan or even close, but Kostopoulos could turn out to be an important signing. He would also come very cheap.
The Sharks could land a former Coyote in free agency not named Shane Doan.
Daymond Langkow has been around the NHL a while, but he still has some juice left. He proved that in the playoffs last year.
1,090 NHL games and 270 goals into his career, the 35-year-old Langkow is now looking for a new home. He had 30 points last year with the Coyotes.
The situation with Langkow would be much like the one with Arnott. A solid, third-line vet who will play whatever role he is put in, while providing leadership.
Tomas Holmstrom is in a similar situation to Shane Doan. He has been with the Detroit Red Wings since they drafted him in 1994, but the team is looking to get younger. Holmstrom is now looking for a new home.
Holmstrom only averaged 11 minutes and 52 seconds of ice-time last season, but he still managed to record 24 points.
Holmstrom would truly shine with the Sharks at his post in front of the opposition's goalie. He is a pest that goalies hate to play against and could even improve the Shark's already potent power play.
Holmstom also has a ton of playoff experience, as the Red Wings are perennial Cup contenders. This could go a long way in furthering the team's playoff runs.
Holmstrom is a player you hate to play against but would love to have on your team. The Sharks would welcome the presence of the experienced left winger.
Andrei Kostitsyn was the subject of a lot of bad publicity last postseason due to an incident where he and former teammate Alexander Radulov violated the team's curfew rules and were suspended for one playoff game.
Immaturity is probably the main reason that Kostitsyn is still unsigned.
Andrei Kostitsyn has scored 103 career goals in 398 games. Last season Kostitsyn inked 36 points while playing for Montreal and Nashville. He has also made it to the 20-goal mark three different times in his career.
He has the potential of being a 50-point scorer, but he needs to mature if he hopes to find a steady job in the NHL.
The Sharks are a solid organization and has veterans who could keep Kostitsyn in line and show him what being a pro really means. Kostitsyn would push the second line players, like Ryane Clowe and Martin Havlat, to keep improving.
After Kostitsyn's antics in Nashville, the Sharks could bring him in at a low price. And If he plays well and matures, the team could have a future star.