How times have changed since then.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys we’ve asked to do a lot, put in big roles, big responsibilities,” coach Pete DeBoer said prior to Game 2 of the Western Conference Final. “They’ve all shown up and played hard and answered the bell, and I think answered a lot of questions regarding our depth.”
In that way, the Sharks are a lot like the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team they could possibly meet in the Stanley Cup Final. The Penguins had major depth concerns as well; they’ve been buoyed by the likes of Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust, and Tom Kuhnhackl.
One youngster the Sharks won’t have tonight is forward Matt Nieto. He’s still out with an undisclosed injury.
“The fact he’s on the ice every day, he’s getting better,” said DeBoer. “He’ll be day-to-day.”
But Donskoi, Tierney, and Karlsson will be in there. And if not for them, their coach doesn’t think the Sharks would still be playing.
“I think they’ve been exceptional,” said DeBoer. “I think we wouldn’t be here without all those guys.”