The San Jose Sharks are gearing up for the 2011-2012 season, and with one preseason game under their belts (a win), they've got their sights set on the Stanley Cup. Of course, the one preseason game thus far played doesn't factor into those aspirations, it's merely a note of where we're at right now. Where the Sharks are at right now is the same place they were last season: coming off a conference finals appearance and with their eyes set on the Stanley Cup.
What's different than last year are the big changes made by general manager Doug Wilson and the rest of the organization. The Sharks made it to the conference finals the last two years, but both times looked over-matched against their opponents, and that inspired a big list of changes, aside from a few tweaks as one might expect.
The biggest of which was the draft day trade of Devin Setoguchi - you know, the guy who was signed to an extension the previous day - to the Minnesota Wild, along with a 2011 first-round pick and Charlie Coyle, the team's 2010 first-round selection, for Brent Burns. It's a huge move, and one that hurt a little while for Sharks fans, but one they were able to handle, as Burns is the defenseman that the team has been seemingly avoiding for a couple offseasons now.
After that, the team sent Dany Heatley to the Wild in exchange for Martin Havlat, a trade that seems to even out. Heatley might be the better player, but he never seemed to fit in well with the Sharks system, while Havlat brings some much-needed speed after the team moved Setoguchi.
So where we stand is this: a team going all-in (the equivalent of three first round picks and Heatley all traded would say as much) and chasing that ever-elusive Stanley Cup. They're one game into their preseason, a 6-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks, and on Friday night play them again. The rest of the preseason is below:
Friday, Sep 23rd vs. Ducks 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sep 24th vs. Coyotes 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sep 25th at Canucks 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, Sep 29th vs Canucks 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct 1 at Coyotes 7:00 p.m.