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Sharks fans’ confidence in team on the rise prior to season pause

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Knowing that Doug Wilson can get a first-rounder with the snap of his fingers probably helps.

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 23: Barclay Goodrow #23 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the New York Islanders at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on February 23, 2020 in Uniondale, New York. New York Islanders defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-1. Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

Before the NHL season blew up, we asked Sharks fans once again about their confidence in the direction of the team, during that weird space between the trade deadline and playoffs — made all the weirder by the fact that San Jose were all but eliminated from playoff contention.

Despite the fact that the Sharks were at the bottom of the Western Conference prior to the season pause, readers had gained some confidence in the organization recently, though ultimately still landed rather neutral overall:

What caused the small jump in confidence?

First, a little further out from the trade deadline, opinions on the Barclay Goodrow trade likely have shifted in a more positive direction. Goodrow did everything asked of him over the last two years in particular and some fans may have thought that the ideal depth player undeservedly drew the short straw in Doug Wilson’s re-tool.

But as we moved further away from the emotions of the trade deadline and closer to the looming 2020 NHL Entry Draft, just how badly the Sharks needed that first-round pick started to come into focus. The dread about the draft that we’ve face most of the season has very suddenly turn into a bit of excitement, knowing the team won’t be left out of the first round entirely, even though we’ll still have to watch Ottawa, well ... you know.

Another thing the Goodrow trade has brought to the surface is that the Sharks’ prospects aren’t nearly as awful as we were led to believe at the start of the season. The signing of Patrick Marleau in October was justified because the organization clearly thought the kids weren’t NHL ready yet. But with Goodrow in Tampa Bay (and Marleau in Pittsburgh), the Sharks have been forced to get creative with the line up and it turns out that Antti Suomela, Joel Kellman and Noah Gregor are kind of good. Even Alexander True has been a bit of pleasant surprise.

Not that the Sharks should have been trying to win on purpose, but winning three games since the last time we checked your FanPulse seems to have earned the young guns some confidence. Losing depth players to the trade deadline doesn’t look as bad when now we know who should be both ready and able to fill those holes by next fall (?????? or whenever the league decides to start next season).

Still, confidence only sits at about 50 percent for Sharks fans. Doug Wilson has taken some big risks over the years and this is one of the few periods where too many chickens have come home to roost at once. Some people are more willing to ascribe that to bad luck rather than bad decisions.

If the season had continued, do you think fan confidence would have continued to trend upward? Let us know in the comments!