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5 steps to San Jose Sharks finally winning Stanley Cup

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The San Jose Sharks will make no coaching change according to CSN Bay Area Insider Kevin Kurz Wednesday, May 14. No doubt their fans will not react well when they see how few changes are made to the team that had so promising a 2013-14 NHL season, but there are reasons for it.

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For one, becoming arguably the biggest choker in NHL history has a way of shaking a team up. Two of three previous teams to lose a 3-0 series lead went on to win the Stanley Cup the next season.

Whether they have wanted to admit it or not, the Sharks have been complacent at times. They have not treated every shift as precious to perfecting one's profession. They have always lacked focus or intensity or caution or grit or something.

If they do that after what happened to make moot the entire 2013-14 NHL season, they need to go. For right now, San Jose is probably going to have to keep its core. Kevin Kurz did announce that general manager Doug Wilson revealed Thursday that neither Dan Boyle nor Martin Havlat will be back and that Brent Burns will return to the blue line, but do not expect much more of a shakeup.

Cap Geek lists Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton as having no-movement clauses in the three-year extensions Wilson signed them to in January. That means they must consent to even being waived by the Sharks to bury or move their contracts.

Patrick Marleau is from a tiny town and came to San Jose before age 18. This is the only home he has had as an adult. He is the all-time player in franchise history in every statistic that matters—including playoff success, being the only player to be in all three of its Western Conference finals.

He is not going anywhere without some big persuasion. Whether the Sharks got a better short-term forward or a younger developing player, they would give more than they got because they would have limited options as trading partners.

Thornton may not look at San Jose as home quite as deeply as Marleau, but the return is almost certain to be less than his sum of talents. His skating is as good as it has ever been, he wins faceoffs and has a great stick, is able to possess the puck while holding off multiple defenders and has elevated the likes of Nils Ekman, Jonathan Cheechoo and T.J. Galiardi into scorers.

Is this team going to be better without him? Obviously Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl are realistically off the market, and trading the versatile and skilled Joe Pavelski as he enters a reasonable $6 million per season contract at the peak of his career is not going to make the team better.

The Sharks could move almost anyone else, including those with no-trade and limited no-trade clauses. They could get younger or at least pretty much retain their current overall talent. They would have enough cap room to re-sign their own players or go after other free agents.

With all those things on the table, there are five basic steps San Jose wants to make to become a real contender for the 2015 Stanley Cup...