Sharks

Sharks’ 1994 Red Wings upset part of greatest turnaround season

Sharks
Arturs Irbe help lead the San Jose Sharks to their best one-year turnaround.

The San Jose Sharks are going through some rather unfamiliar waters. The team has missed the postseason for the first time in back-to-back seasons since 1995-96 and 1996-97. While the front office is staying adamant that a rebuild isn’t where the team is heading, there is a chance that the team could miss the postseason for three straight years, a franchise first. 

This is due to the fact that the Sharks have been very successful since coming into the league in the early 1990s. The team has set high expectations for itself and lived up to them for the most part. But that wasn’t always the case. San Jose struggled in its early years to win in the NHL. 

What was the worst season in Sharks history?

After the Sharks struggled in their inaugural season with a record of 17-58-5, they got even worse the next. San Jose finished its second season with a record of 11-71-2, a winning percentage of just .143. 

It was a historically bad season. The Sharks set league records for most losses in a season and most consecutive losses with 17 in a row. They allowed the most goals (414) and most even-strength goals (286) of any team during the regular season. Coach George Kingston was fired after the season, lasting just two seasons in the NHL. He never got another head coaching gig in the NHL after that.

 

What was the Sharks’ best one-year turnaround in history?

With Kingston out and Kevin Constantine in, San Jose finally found its footing in its third season. The 1993-94 season saw the Sharks finish with a record of 33-35-16. It was a 58-point improvement in just one year, with no big changes with the team other than the head coach.

Despite having a record under .500, the Sharks clinched the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. But it wasn’t their most impressive feat of the season. Going against the powerhouse Detroit Red Wings, the Sharks upset the Cup favorites in seven games in the first round to win the franchise’s first playoff series. Jamie Baker potted the game-winning goal in a 3-2 Game 7 win for San Jose