After a 7-0-0 start to the season, the San Jose Sharks are currently in jeopardy of missing the playoffs, as they are currently seventh in the Western Conference with a win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.
How does a team fall into a severe downward spiral so quickly, might you ask? No offense, no power play and a lack of consistency across the board.
The absolute debacle in San Jose during the month of February has led to many questioning whether or not head coach Todd McLellan and general manager Doug Wilson are taking the Sharks in the right direction. Their jobs were speculated to be on the line after last season’s rather disappointing effort that culminated in a first-round exit in the playoffs.
With the Sharks riddled in a 2-6-3 slump over the last 11 games, change is coming in San Jose. Whether that happens to be with the coaching staff, the front office or the players is the question surrounding this team.
Expectations are that change will come with the players on the ice and not with the job status of McLellan or Wilson. McLellan is one of the best young coaches in the NHL, and that is only supported by four straight appearances in the Western Conference playoffs, including Pacific Division titles in three of the last four seasons. It would be hard to find an available replacement with a better resume and knowledge of the Sharks than McLellan at the moment.
Wilson, in much the same matter, is the reason why the Sharks are competitive each and every season. With big pickups at the trade deadline or during the offseason, Wilson is no stranger to making moves. While recent deals have sent San Jose backwards in terms of talent on the ice, he has set up the franchise for years of success with young players and a talented core on offense.
The San Jose Mercury News’ Mark Purdy feels the chances of replacing McLellan and Wilson has more to do with new majority owner Hasso Plattner than the Sharks’ current seeding in the Western Conference.
“My gut feeling about Plattner, based on his time as a relatively patient minority owner of the Sharks before he assumed hegemony of the franchise, is that he will continue to show confidence in Wilson's ability to right the ship.”
For one thing, I'm not certain that Plattner has spent enough time in NHL circles to identify a replacement if Wilson is dismissed.”
Rest assured, if the Sharks miss the playoffs McLellan and Wilson will once again be on the chopping block—this time with their jobs in more serious jeopardy than last offseason.
Although Plattner said he will not micromanage the Sharks, he wants to contend and is not opposed to major changes with the franchise if winning seasons are no longer attainable—something the previous ownership was rather timid about.
According to Purdy, the offseason is likely where changes will occur. But if the changes include the termination of McLellan and Wilson, then rebuilding the franchise is most certainly the only option.
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