As the days count down to 2023, the San Jose Sharks have a lot of reflecting to do. 2022 has been a year of moderate highs and a variety of lows, and it is not a stretch of the imagination to assume the team is looking forward to a fresh start in the new year. However, needing a fresh start does not mean there were not some great moments for fans to look back on.
Despite missing the playoffs and struggling to find consistent success, the Sharks did not have a complete waste of a year. In fact, 2022 brought some bright moments to the organization that they desperately needed. Now, as the sun begins to set on the year, it’s time to look back on what it was that helped the Sharks walk away from 2022 feeling good about themselves.
Sharks’ New Management Group
Doug Wilson was the general manager of the Sharks for a long time. He was responsible for the creation of a team that was able to make the playoffs again and again for over a decade. However, nothing lasts forever. Wilson decided to step down from his position, and the mantle of responsibility was passed on to Mike Grier.
Grier’s tenure as GM started with a lot of questions. Most importantly, he needed to find a new coach for the Sharks. He ended up landing on David Quinn, who has been great at revitalizing the team’s offense so far. Grier also decided to trade Brent Burns to the Carolina Hurricanes before the start of the season. He’s not afraid to shake things up to help the team’s progress. Hopefully, this mentality continues into 2023, and Grier will be able to help the Sharks find consistent success in the future.
Erik Karlsson’s Return to Form
The trade that brought Erik Karlsson to San Jose is notoriously awful to look back on. The Sharks gave up key pieces of the current Ottawa Senators’ core, specifically Tim Stutzle and Josh Norris. In addition to that, Karlsson seemed to struggle to find his game on his new team for a few years after the trade. However, the start of the 2022-23 season saw him finally live up to the player he was at the time of the trade.
Karlsson has become the most exhilarating player to watch on the Sharks this season. His booming start to 2022-23 has put him at the forefront of the Norris Trophy conversation, and he’s made a team that felt dull and boring ooze excitement. He’s become a leader for the Sharks, and it dulls the pain of the trade ever so slightly.
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However, Karlsson’s return to form has brought up the question of whether or not he will remain on the Sharks. If they want to trade him, there is no better time than the present. His massive contract could make moving him a struggle if he begins to slow down again. This will undoubtedly be something that continues to develop into 2023. Let’s just hope the Sharks will be able to get a more equal return in a Karlsson trade this time.
Patrick Marleau Retires as a Shark
Patrick Marleau made NHL history in the 2020-21 season as the player with the most games played. However, the next year saw him sit out from the action. It was clear that age was beginning to catch up with Marleau. The idea of his retirement began to circulate around the league more than ever, and when May rolled around, Marleau confirmed the rumors himself. He had retired as a Shark.
Marleau will forever hold a special place in the heart of the Sharks. Alongside his long-time teammate Joe Thornton, fans got to watch a player who defined what it meant to be a member of the Sharks when they experienced numerous years of success. Although he was never able to win the Stanley Cup as a player, the possibility of Marleau returning in a management role is always there. Regardless, his jersey retirement ceremony in 2023 will be an emotional day for fans.
Related: Sharks Set to Retire Marleau’s Jersey
2023 will be an interesting year for the Sharks. There are a lot of questions as to what the team plans to do as the window for making the playoffs continues to close. However, fans will have to take small moments of victory in stride for the time being. 2022 has come to an end, and now is the time for the Sharks to begin a new era of success in the new year.