The Sharks haven't made the playoffs since the 2018-19 season, and finished second-to-last in the Honda West Division this past year. Despite the recent struggles, Sharks president Jonathan Becher doubled down on the organization's public stance that a rebuild is not in the cards.
"Yeah I'll reiterate what Doug has said, our owner, (Sharks general manager Doug Wilson) Doug, myself, that's not something we wanna live through," Becher told reporters Monday during a virtual press conference. "It'd be hard for me to sell a three-year season ticket plan to someone and say 'we plan not to be good for the next three to four years.' "
Wilson laid out his expectations for next season in May, indicating that he expects the Sharks to return to contention in 2021-22.
"I expect this to be a very good hockey team," Wilson said (h/t Associated Press). "I expect a team every year to compete for the playoffs. If we add the right things, players get back in their cycle, they're able to do that. I think we'll be a very good team next year. I really do."
As San Jose Hockey Now's Sheng Peng pointed out a few months ago, this past season marked just the third time in franchise history that the Sharks have missed the playoffs in back-to-back years, and the first time in 24 years.
The Sharks have a number of veterans with contracts that extend three to four years into the future, contracts that could be difficult to offload without surrendering draft picks that would be integral to kickstarting a rebuild.
Rebuilds are difficult to sell to fans, especially teams that struggle to maintain a foothold of support in a market.
The Sharks' top brass appear to be in agreement that rebuilding isn't an option, but after a last-place finish in the Western Conference in 2019-20 and not much improvement last season, changes will need to be made this offseason.
However, a majority of the current roster also helped lead the Sharks to the Western Conference Finals in 2018-19.
Wilson and the front office currently have $10.3 million in cap space (per CapFriendly) and eight draft picks, including the seventh overall pick, in their possession.
The pressure is on to avoid what never has happened in franchise history: three consecutive years without a playoff appearance.