In June 2011, the San Jose Sharks traded away a scoring-line forward and a top prospect for a first-pair defenceman. Not only was this meant to upgrade the blue line, but the thought was that a team's seventh-best forward would be easier to replace.
Trouble is, neither of those things happened.
Young forwards the Sharks were hoping would develop, veteran free agents they signed and even those they traded for to fill the void failed. It was much the same on the blue line, where the play of the top three was offset by declining play of two existing defencemen and failure on behalf of veteran free agents.
The result was the worst season in Doug Wilson's eight as general manager and the fastest playoff departure in the team's two-plus decades in the NHL. It was obvious the Sharks needed more from their role players.
San Jose let the ineffective veterans go. They will rely on the young talent that remains at forward, leaving fewer changes to the unit's depth chart for 2013.
The bigger hole was on the blue line, and they brought former Sharks No. 2 overall pick Brad Stuart back to correct the problem. A player of his calibre will shake up any depth chart...where does it leave San Jose's?
Note: As with the forwards, the defencemen are listed in the order of projected total ice time for the season rather than production, which I outlined for Examiner.com separately for the core and depth talent.