Preparations for the upcoming campaign started early for the San Jose Sharks when they retooled their roster before last season's trade deadline.
A strong finish last spring, followed by a playoff run that ended in Game 7 of the second round, proved to the Sharks that those changes that made the team faster and more aggressive worked.
Now they hope that new identity carries over to this season and is just the right tonic to help one of the league's top regular-season teams over the past decade take that next step and make it to the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.
''The fact that they played that way, that they executed, had some success with it, should be rewarding,'' coach Todd McLellan said. ''They should be embracing the opportunity to do it again.''
The change from a slow-moving puck-possession team to a faster, more physical one that plays a more direct style began when San Jose dealt players like Ryane Clowe, Douglas Murray and Michal Handzus.