How Sharks Can Learn From Teams of the Past With Such High Expectations

Immediately after Erik Karlsson's trade to San Jose was announced, expectations of the Sharks shot through the roof.

Sure, this Sharks squad was already expected to be a threat in the Western Conference, particularly after the team signed Evander Kane and Logan Couture to contract extensions during the offseason. But the addition of two-time Norris Trophy winner Karlsson gave the Sharks' stock a major boost.

Suddenly talking heads began pinpointing them as a must-see team. Their odds in Las Vegas to win the Stanley Cup became greater than ever. 

With expectations at an all-time high, entering Game 4 of the regular season with a 1-2-0 record is no doubt disappointing. And according to Karlsson, nobody is putting that pressure on harder than the team itself.

"The highest expectations come from within this room, and that's how it should be," the defenseman said in an interview with Dan Rosen of

The question everyone wants answered now is – when will the Sharks meet these high expectations?

The answer may lie in looking at how such expectations have impacted other teams.

In a Facebook Q&A with Sharks fans on the first day of the season, Sharks radio announcer Dan Rusanowsky likened the Sharks' addition of Erik Karlsson to when the Nashville Predators acquired P.K. Subban ahead of their 2016-17 campaign. Following that widely-publicized trade, which sent former Preds captain Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens, the expectations for Nashville's two-way defense grew exponentially.

Then as the season got underway they lost seven of their first 10 games and didn't register a single road win in the month of October. 

After closing out the first month of the season with a 3-1 loss to the Sharks in San Jose, Predators captain Mike Fisher told the team simply wasn't playing up to their potential.

"We know we're a better team," he said at the time. "When you're not getting the results it's frustrating. We've gone through this before. It's how you come out of it, how you learn, how you become a team. We're going to do that." 

That same Predators team then went undefeated in the month of November on their way to making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

Fast-forward to present day, the San Jose Sharks find themselves in a similar boat. They believe they're better than their record indicates in the early season. Now it's just a matter of putting more notches in the win column without getting too ahead of themselves.

"I feel like this group is dedicated to doing that, to starting off the season not looking too far ahead but trying to build," Karlsson said. "You've got to have as few injuries as possible and you have to be as fresh as you possibly can. If we do that, and everything aligns, this group has a great chance of going all the way."

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