Since 2003-04, the San Jose Sharks have averaged 103.5 points per season (prorating 2013) and have been a strong contender to win the Stanley Cup in each and every season.
Unfortunately for the Sharks, they haven't even reached the Final over that time, and it seems as though a decade's worth of frustration has built to the point where their first-round loss in 2014 was the final straw.
General manager Doug Wilson announced after the season that Dan Boyle and Martin Havlat wouldn't be back and that no player on his team should be considered untouchable in a trade. Wilson loves the term "reset and refresh," but a rebuild could be coming in San Jose based on comments about younger players assuming a leadership role.
Joe Thornton has been captain since 2010, and Patrick Marleau served in that role prior to Thornton. It sounds like next season will see Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski ascend in the leadership department with Thornton perhaps to be stripped of the "C" on his sweater.
This is all fallout from the Sharks' losing in seven games to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. While the Ducks and Blackhawks also fell to the Kings in seven games, only the Sharks did so after taking a 3-0 lead in the series, and the blame for that seems to be falling on the veterans.
Side note: In Games 4-7 against the Kings, Couture and Pavelski combined for one goal and zero assists, while Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed most of Game 5 and the final two games of the series with a concussion. Couture also played Game 7 with a broken hand he suffered in an idiotic fight at the end of a Game 6 loss.
But sure, scapegoat the veterans.
The 2014-15 Sharks will likely be a different team than what we've come to know over the years. Depending on what Wilson gets for his veteran stars, it could also be the beginning of a big downward trend for one of the NHL's elite teams that's seemingly in a panic over losing a seven-game series to another elite team.