General Manager Doug Wilson has a lot of thinking to do, including what to do with the team. It's clear that the Sharks do not have the players in place to succeed in the playoffs and need to look into acquiring players who will be ready to play in the post-season.
So, the question that Wilson must ask himself is which players are going to stay? Which players are going to leave?
Does it mean a rebuilding year to give some of the younger talent a chance to get playing time? Does it involve making trades to bring in players who know how to win?
The Sharks need to do a little of both. The Sharks need to get some fresh faces in place and use some of that young talent, but also need to go after the experienced free agents, preferably ones who have won a Stanley Cup and know what it means to make it far in the playoffs.
As for who stays, that's a tough one, but here's what it should be:
On the way out:
Joe Thornton: A great player but doesn't score nearly enough and has not ever shown up big in the playoffs for the Sharks.
Jonathan Cheechoo: Hasn't been the same player recently when he scored 56 and 37 goals in consecutive seasons. Injuries have played a role, but a change of scenery may do him a lot of good.
Claude Lemieux: A no brainer was added for his post-season experience way late in the season. He didn't really show much and the Sharks lost in the first round, no reason to keep him, especially since he turns 44 in July.
Rob Blake: Another veteran who was brought in to provide leadership, still a solid player but no longer needed for the Sharks. Considering he's nearing 40 years of age, the Sharks can find a younger option on defense.
Douglas Murray: Of all the Sharks' defensemen, he's not much of an offensive contributor, and it's just time for him to go.
Mike Grier: Just not a good fit any more for the Sharks. The Sharks need a right winger to be able to get them 30-40 goals and none of the ones they had last year even came close, except for Devin Setoguchi.
Players To Stay:
Patrick Marleau: Marleau should stay because he's been with the Sharks the longest he's pretty much got all the Sharks records. He has never played anywhere else and it doesn't make sense for the Sharks to let the best player in their history to walk.
Marleau should be a Shark for life. He's been through everything for the organization and it's a testament that he's been able to stay with the Sharks for so long.
Yes, he gets a lot of the blame for the struggles have had in the playoffs, but it's not his fault; no one else does either.
The Sharks should keep Marleau and go after a center who's more of a scorer than a passer like Thornton.
Devin Setoguchi: The Sharks second-best goal scorer behind Marleau, he is the only right winger the Sharks should keep.
Dan Boyle: Solid defenseman didn't get much help in the playoffs but offensively he provided a huge lift for the Sharks once he was acquired, so there's no need to get rid of Boyle.
Evgeni Nabokov: Even with a disappointing first round exit in the playoffs there's no need to get rid of Nabby. One of the better goaltenders in the league. His 41 wins to only 12 losses proves it.
He did miss some time because of injury, but maybe the Sharks will be able to decrease Nabby's workload a little bit next year and allow their backup to play a few more games, so in the playoffs Nabby can be a little fresher.
Milan Michlek: Should also stay; one of the better point scorers for the Sharks, and he usually is one of the only Sharks performing in the playoffs.
With that being said, there are other players on the roster who could go either way, but as of now, these players are the ones that should be either let go or kept.