Considering how the Sharks played last season and how they've fared two months into the 2021 NHL season, it wouldn't be surprising if opposing teams were salivating at the thought of playing San Jose.
After all, dating back to the start of last season, the Sharks are 40-49-9 following their 2-1 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues at SAP Center on Friday night.
But Sharks coach Bob Boughner told reporters after the game that his team is building towards something and it isn't an easy team to play against at the moment.
"So many improvements. There's certain things we identified after about 10 games that we needed to get better at and we've gotten better in every one of those categories," Boughner said on a video conference call. "I'm happy that way. It's maybe not a team that's ready to compete for a Stanley Cup, but it's a team that's getting better by the week. And it's a team that's building on its culture like we talked about, and we're a hard team to play against. I think if you asked anyone around the league in our side, we're a hard team to play against right now and that's what we need."
Defenseman Erik Karlsson, who played 26 minutes Friday, echoed Boughner's sentiment.
"I think we've been played some better hockey lately and using our feet and protecting the puck more and playing with some puck possession makes us tough to play against," Karlsson said. "We've got some big boys on our team. It's unfortunate that we can't find more ways to win games because I think we've done a great job of putting ourselves in positions to be able to win."
It's good that the Sharks have confidence in their abilities, but entering Saturday's rematch against the Blues, San Jose sits in seventh place with an 11-13-4 record, good for 26 points, nine out of a West Division playoff spot.
With all the veteran and battle-tested players on the Sharks roster, they should be better than their record indicates. Instead, they have a losing record in their home barn (3-5-2).
The Sharks might truly believe they are a hard team to play right now, but they need to turn that into some wins if they want to make some news in the playoff race.