Sharks’ 3 Keys to Success During the 2022-23 Season

The San Jose Sharks are in a very bizarre state to begin the 2022-23 NHL season. Recently, they made a series of management and roster changes in an effort to refresh the team for a new year, and the preseason results seem to prove that they have begun transitioning in the right direction. However, being decent in the preseason is not enough. The Sharks need to find a way to ride the momentum into the regular season.

Related: Sharks 2022-23 Season Preview

The biggest struggle for NHL teams during the regular season is maintaining momentum. Unfortunately, winning often comes in waves; no clubs are exempt from this philosophy. If the Sharks want to turn their preseason success into something tangible in October, they will need to capitalize on three key concepts.

Sharks Need Rookie Support to Succeed

The Sharks have a plethora of young players getting a chance in the NHL this year. On top of William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau getting an entire season in San Jose, Ryan Merkley looks like he will be a mainstay on defense this year. Other notable prospects such as Strauss Mann, Daniil Gushchin, and Artemi Knyazev could also get a chance or two, depending on how the season shakes out.

Ryan Merkley San Jose Sharks
Ryan Merkley, San Jose Sharks (Photo by Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Getting additional support from the young players could do wonders for the Sharks’ aging core. They have some in Timo Meier and Thomas Hertl, but the rest of the team is getting old quickly. So while the team currently seems to be competing, the only way they will be able to achieve that goal is if they can build around the future.

Sharks Need to Embrace the Change

The Sharks have completely rehauled their identity. From management to players and even jerseys, they look like they want to give fans a true sense of change. However, wanting to change and actually going through with it are two separate things. If the Sharks want to grow as a team, they must embrace the change fully.

Related: Sharks’ New Jersey Ushers in a New Era

Right now, the team is doing a decent job taking their new identity in stride. The new jerseys have looked beautiful on the ice, and chemistry seems to be present between the skaters. Mike Grier and David Quinn have their grip on the squad, and their combined efforts to change the team for the better have been paying off up to this point. While that is all fine and dandy, they need to keep that mentality alive for the whole season.

Mike Grier, San Jose Sharks
Mike Grier, San Jose Sharks (Photo by Don Smith/Getty Images)

Changing your identity can be challenging, and many teams have struggled to embrace their new identities in the past. Often when that happens, things begin to decline rapidly. If the Sharks want to avoid years of even more mediocrity, they have to dig their heels in the ground and take the change head-on.

Sharks Need to Commit to a Direction

While competition is the Sharks’ clear objective at the moment, it is possible that the year may not go that way. Anything is possible in the NHL, and San Jose could find themselves out of contention in the blink of an eye. If that ends up being the case, they need to pick a direction when the trade deadline approaches.

James Reimer San Jose Sharks
James Reimer, San Jose Sharks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

At the end of last season, the Sharks avoided making any massive moves at the trade deadline. It left many fans with a sour taste in their mouth. They could not commit to a rebuild but were only willing to make minor moves after missing the playoffs again. However, Grier is a very active general manager. If the Sharks are losing, he may be willing to do what he has to for the sake of the future, even if it means beginning a rebuild.

The Sharks have set themselves up for a year of questions. They are in a weird state where competing may be challenging, but they are certainly too good to tank. However, if they can commit to these three key ideas, this year could be good for them, even if they begin to lose. Success is not linear, and depending on how the 2022-23 season goes, the Sharks could be prime examples of that mentality.

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