The Sharks' offseason game plan: Go get John Tavares

The Sharks' veteran core group -- led by Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns, left to right -- should still have another solid season left in it. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

As each NHL team is eliminated from playoff contention -- either mathematically or by losing in the postseason -- we'll take a look at why its quest for the Stanley Cup fell short in 2017-18, along with three keys to its offseason and a way-too-early prediction for what 2018-19 will hold.

What went wrong

The San Jose Sharks finished 45-27-10 (100 points) in the regular season, an improvement year to year. They averaged 3.01 goals per game, also an improvement. They swept the Anaheim Ducks out of the playoffs in a convincing first-round victory.

Sure, Joe Thornton was feeling his age, and the defense wasn't as sturdy as it was last season. But things were going pretty well ... until the Vegas Golden Knights happened.

What went wrong in the Sharks' season?

They had the misfortune of playing the league's unlikeliest juggernaut, whose speed and depth and Marc-Andre Fleury and general magic were simply too much for San Jose to overcome.