San Jose Sharks: No. 31

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

This story is part of ESPN The Magazine's September 29 Fansourced Issue. Subscribe today!

Last year's ranking: 28
Title track: 75
Ownership: 20
Coaching: 47
Players: 77
Fan relations: 17
Affordability: 45
Stadium experience: 26
Bang for the buck: 31

Considering their team has made an art form out of turning dominant regular seasons into annual playoff disintegration, Sharks fans are still a relatively happy bunch. San Jose slipped just three spots in our standings despite suffering their most epic postseason collapse yet: a first-round defeat to eventual Stanley Cup champ Los Angeles in which they became just the fifth team in NHL, NBA or MLB history to lose a best-of-seven series after winning the first three games. Easing that pain is the fact that fans found it actually more affordable to attend a game at the Shark Tank, which provides the ninth-best stadium experience in hockey, than it had been the season before. Bang, meet Buck. And while franchise pillars Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton will both be 35 when the season begins Oct. 8 -- note the team's 15-spot slip in title track ranking -- GM Doug Wilson has tried to make the Sharks younger this offseason, jettisoning veterans Dan Boyle, Brad Stuart and Martin Havlat. Two-way forward Joe Pavelski, who scored 41 goals (third most in the league) in 2013-14, is still just 30. He's under contract for another five years, as is sniper Logan Couture, 25. Add in electrifying 20-year-old Tomas Hertl, an emerging superstar who has drawn comparisons to fellow Czech Jaromir Jagr, and the Sharks should stay near the top of the ultracompetitive Western Conference, especially if goaltender Antti Niemi can rebound from the worst of his four seasons in the Bay Area. For Fins fans, playoff success would be an unexpected bonus.