Seeing the upside in Sharks’ 2013 campaign

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The San Jose Sharks have made it to the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons and failed to even to the Stanley Cup finals, much less win it all.

In the history of the NHL, there has only been 10 stretches of regular season success that were longer, but also failed to result in winning the Stanley Cup, according to CSN Bay Area.

The Sharks have shown a commitment to winning the Stanley Cup and have sought out players and coaches who have already enjoyed postseason success.

So far that hasn’t produced the desired result. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have been two cornerstones of this franchise for years, but they will be 34 by the time the 2013-14 campaign begins. So is their window of opportunity almost over?

Not necessary. In fact, characterizing them as an aging team would be a bit disingenuous. Goaltender Antti Niemi, forward Joe Pavelski, and blueliner/forward Brent Burns are all in their prime while Logan Couture, 24, has established himself as one of the game’s rising stars.

In addition, they have some talented prospects under the organization’s control, most notably 19-year-old forward Tomas Hertl, who might make his NHL debut next season.

Maybe that’s why, at the end of a roller coaster campaign, the Sharks can look back and reflect on the positive instead of seeing this just as the latest in a chain of playoff exits without a Stanley Cup.

“We’re in transition a little bit as an organization with some of the moves we made, but I thought the way they banded together and played for each other and with each other was exceptional,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan told CSN Bay Area.

“It was a really positive sign for our organization, not only for the playoffs, but moving forward. It’s not about one or two guys. It’s about the group as a whole, and they accepted that, and we have something to build on moving forward.”