In the Tank: What is going on with the San Jose Sharks?

The 2022-2023 season has been rough on the San Jose Sharks. Can fans expect next season to be better?

The front of the SAP Center in San Jose, with giant stone letters saying "San Jose" under a clear, blue sky.

The SAP Center is not just a great hockey venue.

Photo by SJtoday staff

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The San Jose Sharks are currently dead-last in the Pacific Standings. Despite two stunning victories this week over the Canucks and Capitals, they’ve only won five of the last 20 games. Their chances at making the Stanley Cup Playoffs dwindle by the day.

For most fans, this is disheartening. No one enjoys seeing their hometown team lose this many games. But for die-hard fans, and those following the sport closely, the Sharks’ recent losses aren’t just expected, they’re necessary for the team’s future.

We caught up with Aaron Sholl and Paul Sunseri, hosts of San Jose’s weekly hockey web-series “The Fin Factor,” who broke down the Sharks’ current issues and what we can expect from the team by the end of this season.

Aaron and Paul are wearing black shirts and jeans in front of the SAP Center in downtown San Jose.

Aaron Sholl (left), and Paul Sunseri (right) have been fans of the franchise since the beginning.

Photo courtesy The Fin Factor

What is happening with the Sharks?

Aaron: They’re basically in rebuild mode. Mike Grier just came in as a [general manager] last year, so he’s sort of revamping the whole roster, and it may take a few years.
Paul: This is what a lot of teams go through to “get good,” if you will. Unfortunately, it sucks from the perspective of a fan coming in and watching losses, but this is exactly what the team needs to be successful in the future.

Where will the team be next season?

Aaron: Next season, we’ll see a lot of the younger guys that have been drafted who will probably make a difference. There are a lot of free agents that will be coming up after this season. We’re expecting some of those guys to be traded, some will be re-signed, so there will be a lot of roster turnover.
Paul: The main goal for next season is to draft well. This isn’t going to be a team that will be good this year or next year. Hopefully in a couple of years from now they’ll be a lot better, but that’s going to come from drafting well and making trades, bringing in those picks or prospects, and I think that’s going to be the goal for next season.

A shark mascot skating on ice carrying a San Jose Sharks flag.

The endlessly positive Sharkie cheering on our team.

Photo by Elliot Lowe, via Wikimedia Commons

Who are the players to watch out for?

Aaron: Will Smith, who is the 4th overall draft pick. Quentin Musty is one of my favorites from this last draft — he’ll be coming in next year. They’re the two I’m most excited about.
Paul: One of the guys I’m excited for next season is doing well this season, too — William Eklund [Forward]. Seeing his continued growth is going to be something for Sharks fans to look out for. Beyond that, guys that aren’t on the team that haven’t been drafted yet — Macklin Celebrini [Forward] is the big prize everybody wants, so if the Sharks are going to be this bad this season, hopefully they get the prize.

What can a fan look forward to?

Aaron: The expectation this season is to be dead last, if not close to it. The benefit is getting a top draft pick (hopefully, first overall, Celebrini). That’s the best case scenario, and that’s what we’re expecting.
Paul: Keeping an eye on those younger prospects and how they’re developing.

A full SAP Center during a Sharks hockey game.

The Tank is one of the best hockey venues in the country.

Photo via @venuesnow

What should a casual fan do?

Aaron: The Sharks are an entertainment business. Whether they win or lose, it’s still a fun time down at the Tank. This year has had the most giveaways they’ve ever done. Pick a game that has a giveaway, there’s a lot coming up.
Paul: The Hawaiian shirsey, the holiday sweater shirsey, the Sharks + Warriors mashup was pretty cool. Lots of good giveaways, and it’s still a good time for the kids. You can also always check out the Barracuda at Tech CU Arena (the farm team for the Sharks) — they’ve got a lot of younger rookies who are getting their development done.

What beverage should a fan have while watching the games?

Aaron: “Sharkarita” for me — a margarita with blue curacao, so it looks teal. It’s great.
Paul: Definitely a good boba drink if you don’t want to go alcoholic.

Check out The Fin Factor’s live streams every Monday for their weekly breakdowns of San Jose Sharks games.

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