This season hasn't gone as planned for the Sharks, and Logan Couture's fractured ankle might be the straw that breaks them.
At 21-22-4, the Sharks currently are seven points back of the final wild-card position but have a number of teams to leap in order to get back into playoff contention.
With their captain slated to miss expected to miss six weeks, the Sharks are ready to look to the future by selling some players in order to make a quick reboot to contend next season, The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported Monday.
The crushing injury to Logan Couture only cements what was coming anyway, the realization by the Sharks that it is time to punt on this season and regroup for next year.
LeBrun believes the Sharks will look to trade the likes of Brenden Dillon and Melker Karlsson, both of whom will unrestricted free agents this summer. The plan, however, reportedly is not to blow up the core of the team, as the Sharks are hoping a few tweaks will have them back in the Stanley Cup hunt shortly.
The core of Couture, Tomas Hertl, Joe Thornton, Evander Kane, Erik Karlsson, Timo Meier, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns is the stuff contenders are made of to be sure. The Sharks, however, will need to solve their goaltending issue and perhaps secure another top-six forward to boost the full-strength attack.
Losing Dillon and/or Melker Karlsson also would hamper the NHL's best penalty kill unit, which is something else to consider going forward.
The Sharks will head into the offseason looking for a new coach and a new plan of attack, but the same belief that their foundation can win a title after a few tweaks.