For all intents and purposes, it's just better to pretend the 2014-15 San Jose Sharks season never happened. A campaign doomed before October, last season was a blight on what has otherwise been a very nice stretch for the San Jose franchise.
This past summer, general manager Doug Wilson looked to fix the mess he created a year prior, bringing in Martin Jones, Paul Martin and Joel Ward while jettisoning Scott Hannan, Antti Niemi John Scott and Matt Irwin. The most notable departure (Hannan) and acquisition (Martin) have gone a long way towards turning the Sharks back into pseudo-contenders.
This time might not be as good as it was in the 2013-14 season, but hoo boy is it better than that 2014-15 team. While I trust most agree with this sentiment, it's really something to see it visualized. Here's a chart of the Sharks rolling average (50-games) of fenwick-for percentage (score adjusted, even strength) going from the start of the 14-15 season to yesterday.
Logan Couture's injury early on put a dent in the start of the Sharks' season, but his return (and subsequent return to form) has really helped put San Jose over the top. I still don't think this team is as good as Anaheim or Los Angeles, but the disparity isn't what it was a season ago. Below is a similar looking chart that looks at scoring-chances for percentage instead of fenwick, because I'm all about #shot #quality. (Yes, I know that's not what this measures, really.)
San Jose's goaltending has slipped from .919 at even strength a year ago to .916 this season, but the Sharks are shooting at a clip of 7.7 percent compared to 7.1 percent last year. That's the best the Sharks have shot since posting an 8.8 percent mark in 2009-10. Conversely, that's the worst even strength goaltending the Sharks have received since the 2007-08 campaign.
So the Sharks have taken a step back in the goaltending department, in part because Martin Jones has been a bit inconsistent and in part thanks to Alex Stalock's steep slide into very-not-goodness.
There's no great revelation here. Wilson did a poor job constructing a team entering the 14-15 season and it showed on the ice. The team didn't underachieve — it did exactly what it was designed to do; namely flop around and lose a bunch of games to other not very good teams. The only saving grace from last season was the Kings missing the dance as well, though that was small consolation after a summer of pain.
Wilson had one of his best offseasons to date, bringing in new talent and shedding mediocre players to create what is at least a playoff team, if not a cup contender. This late into the careers (and contracts) of Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, Wilson did what he should have done a year ago — and it shows.