|Will McLellan and Marleau (left) be back next season? (Getty Images)|
Was this the end of the world as we know it in regards to San Jose Sharks hockey?
The season had high expectations, and the Sharks didn't meet them. At all. They had to fight until the final week of the season just to make the playoffs, doing so as the seventh seed. The Sharks then won Game 1 against the Blues before dropping the next four and getting bounced in the first round a year after making the conference finals.
This team has been held together for some time, making run after run in recent years but never reaching the Stanley Cup Final. After one of their most disappointing finishes of them all, the questions are beginning. Are they ready to shake up to the core?
That's the big one as they look toward the offseason. First though it starts with who will be leading the team; will head coach Todd McLellan be back?
Speaking at the team's exit-interview day, GM Doug Wilson shouldered a large part of the blame for the team's season but still wasn't very pointed on McLellan's place with the team going forward.
"I believe in Todd," Wilson said on Tuesday (courtesy of San Jose Mercury News). "I think he knows this game. But there are some things where we will all sit down and where we have to get better."
One way might be that penalty kill. It was worse than all but one team in the NHL this season. For a team that hopes to compete that obviously won't get it done.
One of the players who has been there for a long time and always seems to take a lot of the backlash is Patrick Marleau. He doesn't contribute to the bad PK, but it feels like more is always expected of him, a former No. 2 overall draft pick.
He has only known the Sharks as an NHL player. But might it finally be time that he gets acquainted with another franchise?
"We'll cross that bridge if it ever comes up," Marleau said.
So that's McLellan and Marleau both with uncertain futures who are sitting in a bit of ambiguity. How about some of the other staples like, oh I don't know, Dan Boyle? He'll turn 36 next season but he's still relied up on heavily by the Sharks on the blue line.
"I don't even want to think about that," Boyle said about an opening in his no-movement clause. "I don't want to go anywhere."
So if they do decide to undertake a retooling, where do you look if you're San Jose? The obvious starting point is Rick Nash, a player that the Sharks were rumored to be hot and heavy for at the trade deadline and still figures to be on his way out in Nashville. San Jose was one of the rumored destinations he would like to go to.
Don't think that the deadline was the last we heard of the rumors involving Nash and San Jose. From CBC's Elliotte Friedman:
San Jose is one of the teams Nash would like to go to and the Sharks could use him. "They looked old," said one coach. Wilson doesn't believe in long-term deals, so there is flexibility. Only eight players, all from the core, are signed past next year and only two (Brent Burns, Martin Havlat) into 2015.
The point is this offseason in San Jose begins with more questions than any in some time. They have a lot of decisions to make as that proverbial window appears to be closing without them ever having jumped through it.
OK amateur GMs, is it time to reroute the course in San Jose?