There are teams that have talked about making changes this offseason to get better. And then there are the San Jose Sharks – a group that didn’t realize it still had an open championship window last season before it was too late.
Now that general manager Doug Wilson seems to recognize this fact, could the Sharks be the biggest mover and shaker during this crucial week? Survey says? Yes …
And by the survey I mean Wilson via CSN Bay Area:
"This is probably the most important part of the transition process that we've gone through the last year, is getting to this point,” Wilson said.
In other words, it’s time to make some tangible upgrades to the roster, and get the ship moving in the right direction again. The NHL Entry Draft commences at the end of the week on Friday and Saturday at the home of the Florida Panthers, and the Sharks could make headlines by the time it’s through.
What can they do, and what should they do? San Jose missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2002-03. Wilson has stated he will not ask Joe Thornton or Mr. Shark Patrick Marleau to remove their no trade clauses.
And to be honest, why would either player waive these parts of their contracts? The Sharks are still a good team with them on the roster. Plus, both have made their homes in San Jose. Remember Thornton’s plush digs during EPIX Road to the Stadium Series?
But those aren’t the only two moveable assets for the Sharks. They own the No. 9 pick in what should be a solid draft. Will Wilson trade the pick?
Via the San Jose Mercury News:
"When you get to that point and sit on the draft floor, sometimes things get offered out of left field," he said. "Sometimes people move up a spot, move down a spot. Our history speaks to we've done all those things. You listen in this business.
"When opportunities come; that's how we got Brent Burns [in 2011]. The draft was in Minnesota. They didn't have a first-round pick. ... We have players that people like and people call and that's great. We have draft picks that people like and we have a lot of picks going forward that people like. You want the phones ringing and people calling you and offering things. That's the position we're in. Get on the draft floor and you never know."
Even though I’ve used this space to point out some of Wilson’s faults in regards to the Sharks bizarre-o captaincy issues, he is a shrewd deal maker.
The Burns trade is a great example in regards to a deal around draft time. He got an All-Star defenseman/rover for essentially Devin Setoguchi and Charlie Coyle.
Burns has become an incredible asset for his ability to play defense and forward. Setoguchi is pretty much out of the league. Coyle is a good young player, but he still hasn’t scored more than 12 goals or 35 points.
Said The Hockey Writers:
“Although both teams have found their own success from this trade, I’d have to give the edge to the San Jose Sharks. Burns has gone on to further improve his offensive game, setting career bests in points twice already and also offering the Sharks some insurance with his availability on the blue line and up front. Meanwhile, Charlie Coyle hasn’t been able to offer quite as much scoring as the Wild may have hoped for”
The trade for Thornton in 2005 is probably one of the greatest post-lockout trades in the NHL.
While Wilson’s ‘refresh’ or ‘rebuild’ or whatever he called it, was misguided, he has been given a glorious chance to redeem himself in the way he knows best.
This upcoming unrestricted free agent class is poor and going that way is probably misguided.
As far as restricted free agents go, Wilson did sign Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson to a four-year $14 million deal in 2010.
The Blackhawks matched the deal, but it prevented Chicago from keeping goaltender Antti Niemi in an arbitration case that summer. Wilson swooped in and secured his goaltending position, eventually for the next five years with Niemi
Whether he did it on purpose or not, it looked brilliant at the time.
By all accounts consider the rebuild in San Jose RIP 2014-15. Wilson made his first decent move by bringing in Peter DeBoer, who is a solid puck possession coach.
San Jose has its own in-house problems it needs to figure out. Niemi is an unrestricted free agent and Wilson never dealt him at the trade deadline. This appears to be a blunder if Niemi walks. The captaincy issue still looms.
But Wilson has been given a glorious opportunity to manage his own way out of this mess. This next week will determine his future. No pressure.
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