Don’t shoot the messenger, but the opinion around the league is that the San Jose Sharks will not make the postseason this year, which would mark just the seventh time that the franchise has not competed for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Now, when I say “around the league,” what I really mean is “among SB Nation readers who participate in the FanPulse survey” — which could be you, if it isn’t already and you’re into that sort of thing.
When asked about the sixteen teams that made playoffs last year and which one would miss the postseason in 2020, the Sharks ran away with 66.19 percent of readers believing they will. The Columbus Blue Jackets were next on that list with 48.23 percent, and the only other major vote-getter was the Nashville Predators with 43.38 percent.
If this question sounds familiar, it’s because it was the first question asked when FanPulse launched and apparently the Sharks have quickly lost the confidence of fans that they can turn this season around, dropping from 19.41 percent in Week 1 to now more than two-thirds of voters.
So what’s happened since then?
Well, the Sharks failed to build on an excellent November that could’ve seen them dig themselves out of the hole started in October. They fired not only their head coach in Peter DeBoer, but his entire coaching staff, save for his replacement in Bob Boughner. Radim Simek returned, but then left again. Goaltending stayed as bad as ever, until Boughner decisively went with Aaron Dell as the team’s starter, and even then, it’s not great. Finally, Logan Couture, the team’s leading scorer, will miss six weeks with an ankle injury.
Things aren’t looking great for the Sharks, even in the garbage dump of a division that is the Pacific this year. If they make the postseason, it would be by the skin of their teeth — and more likely due to other teams’ failures than San Jose’s own success.
Here’s a more concrete look at what the Sharks are fighting against:
Sadness. Slowly the pursuers are closing the sadness gap. pic.twitter.com/y8jx39xFMO— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) January 15, 2020
Micah Blake McCurdy of HockeyViz uses point projections and draft lottery odds to create what he calls a “sadness ranking” — or the chance that a team will miss the postseason and also not draft in the top five. San Jose currently sits at 94 percent, thanks to the 100 percent chance that the Ottawa Senators will be using the Sharks’ first-round pick.
Even more concretely, McCurdy has San Jose’s playoff chances at a mere 6 percent and projects them to finish with 81.6 points, in a division with a playoffs cutoff of 92.0 points.
Playoff chances, West and East.— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) January 15, 2020
That nest of confusion just above the bubble in the West is very fun for me, emotionally. pic.twitter.com/Jtbhiqcg1F
The bottom line? The Sharks are fighting an uphill battle, and even if they do make the postseason, are they really in a position to win the cup this year? Maybe Doug Wilson’s plan of retooling on the fly isn’t the worst thing that could happen.
In other FanPulse news that won’t make us (too) sad, here are the results of the second question asked this week: Which teams that missed last year’s postseason will make an appearance this year?
And again, here’s Week 1, for comparison:
Do you want a say in how these votes go? Sign up to participate in SB Nation’s FanPulse and make your voice heard!