John Scott believes Sharks' Stanley Cup window has closed originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
For four seasons, from 2015-16 through 2018-19, the Sharks were one of the top teams in the NHL.
Despite recording 98, 99, 100 and 101 points in those four seasons, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016, and the Western Conference final in 2019, the Sharks came up empty-handed. They never brought home the hardware that matters -- the Stanley Cup.
Expected to remain competitive last season, the Sharks sank to the bottom of the Western Conference and haven't been much better early in the 2020-21 season.
Can this team, led by veterans Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Evander Kane, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Patrick Marleau, return to contention and possibly win the Cup in the next few years?
Former Sharks forward John Scott, who played 38 games for San Jose during the 2014-15 season, doesn't see it happening.
"Boy, San Jose. Their window was three years ago," Scott told NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil during an interview that aired during "Sharks Pregame Live" on Saturday. "That was their time to the Cup, that was their time to really make their mark. I think the window's passed.
"I think when you look at the ages of the guys on the team, they're on the wrong side of 30, and it's tough for me to say because I want them to succeed, but when you look around the league, when you look at their division, they're going to be in a tough spot for the next three, four years."
Couture, Kane, Karlsson, Burns, Vlasic all are making at least $7 million a year and are signed for at least the next four seasons. Some are signed for the next six seasons.
Goalie Martin Jones, who has struggled the last few seasons, is signed for the next three seasons at $5.75 million a year.
Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc are all signed for the next few seasons, but they haven't produced enough to carry the Sharks into playoff contention.
"They're locked into these contracts," Scott told Brazil. "These guys aren't producing like they did when they signed the contracts and they're not the same players they were two years ago, let alone five years ago. The Karlssons, the Burns, the Vlasics, that's your three top D-men, they're not producing like six, seven, eight, nine million dollar players.
"So it's tough to win when you're locked up in those contracts. I don't know. I want to say that they're going to make the playoffs and they're going to make a great run, but I'd be lying to you, I'd be lying to myself."
Entering Saturday's game against the St. Louis Blues, the Sharks are in seventh place in the West Division with a 7-8-2 record (16 points).
On paper, the Sharks have the players to contend for the playoffs, but on the ice, those players haven't lived up to the billing. It's going to take a serious shift in momentum for the Sharks to prove Scott wrong this season or in the next few years.