SAN JOSE (KPIX) – The Sharks were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs Sunday night at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights. San Jose was beaten in a game six for the third straight season, adding to franchise’s long history of playoff disappointments.

While it’s certain the Sharks will compete for a spot in the postseason next year, San Jose’s roster could look different when the team returns to the ice in October.

Five players will be free agents including Joe Thornton and Evander Kane.

Thornton is 38-years-old and suffered a lower body injury in January which limited him to 47 games in the regular season. He’s one of the greatest players in franchise history, but the team surged without him after they acquired forward Evander Kane in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres.

Unlike Thornton, Kane has plenty of tread left on his tires, but has to decide if he wants to return to the Bay Area. He scored nine goals and five assists in 17 teams with the Sharks and skated in his first career postseason.

Kane played on an underperforming line against the Golden Knights, but head coach Peter DeBoer wasn’t ready to criticize his make-shift top line.

“Our number one center went down, these guys jumped in and filled rolls, didn’t complain,” DeBoer said. “They battled their ass off right to the buzzer in every single game.”

When asked if he would be open to returning to San Jose long-term, Kane took a diplomatic route: “Really enjoyed my time with this group of guys. Loved going to battle with these guys. I have a lot of confidence in this group.”

The feeling was mutual for Kane’s teammates.

“This is a great place to play,” Sharks forward Logan Couture told Dennis O’Donnell on Gameday. “We’d love to have him.”

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