Sharks GM Wilson: 'We're not going to finish last to try and draft people first or second'

by Jul 11, 8:56 AM
Jason O. Watson / US PRESSWIRE

The San Jose Sharks have built a reputation as a well-oiled regular season machine that crumbles miserably once the postseason rolls around.

Following their latest foray into the realm of playoff humiliation (blowing a 3-0 series lead to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings), Sharks general manager Doug Wilson committed to a rebuild that would look to create a culture of "teammates" as opposed to "co-workers".

Although complete team rebuilds frequently involve the absolute bottoming out of a franchise, Wilson admits that his team is too talented to tank in hopes of grabbing a high pick at the next NHL draft.

"I can understand when people say there are different types of rebuild," Wilson told David Pollak of The San Jose Mercury News. "We're not going to finish last to try and draft people first or second. This is not something this franchise can do, because we already have some good players in key positions. You're not going to see us with 50 points next year -- we're too good a team for that."

Jun 21, 11:51 AM

Sharks GM Wilson looking to build a culture of teammates, not co-workers

by Jun 21, 11:51 AM

San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is committed to a rebuild of some sort over the summer, and a big part of that seems to involve a change in of the team's "culture".

Appearing on the NHL Network’s NHL Live!, Wilson was asked by host Steve Mears what needs to change after his team's infamous loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the postseason. 

Here's his response, via Kevin Kurz of CSN.

There’s a comment that was made by a group of my players, that we were co-workers and not teammates.

Really, what that means is they really hadn’t dug down to be there for each other and commit to what teammates have to do to be successful. Look at L.A. The things that they did, the game sevens where they just stuck with it, coming back against us, taking care of each other. Ours was somehow lost a little bit. Our players acknowledged it, I’ve listened to them, our coaches have acknowledged it.

That’s what I’m talking about when it comes to culture, is being a great teammate and playing the way that we need them to play, not the way that they want to play.

Wilson acknowledged the problem is "partly the people, partly the environment, partly how they’re managed and coached", but ultimately seems to point back to a lack of leadership and cohesiveness as the root of the issue: "But, it comes back to teammate-to-teammate, saying, ‘you know what? I’ll be there for you.’ And, we didn't have it.”

This lends credence to the fact that Wilson would prefer to send Joe Thornton packing, something he admits is ultimately up to the captain: 

We’ve decided we’re going to go into our form of rebuild, and it may take a year or two, whatever it may be. My conversations with Joe and (Patrick Marleau) were kept in confidence, and it’s very simple – if it doesn’t fit for you guys, let’s sit and discuss it. Certainly, there’s a lot of teams that would love players like that.

But, as I said, that decision will be based on what’s best for this organization and what those individuals want to do. That will be kept in confidence. Teams call all the time, but I tell them it will be up to the players’ decisions based on conversations with me.

Jun 17, 8:20 PM

Sharks GM Doug Wilson: 'The rebuild is committed to'

by Jun 17, 8:20 PM
Jason O. Watson / US PRESSWIRE

Every year the San Jose Sharks are one of the league's most successful franchises. Then the playoffs start.

Despite a decade-plus run of regular season success, the Sharks have spent the past couple of months looking at a core that has never advanced beyond the Western Conference final and they've made a determination: "we're not good enough."

"I don’t think we feel we’re close enough with where the other teams are at," general manager Doug Wilson said during a session with Bay Area sports media on Tuesday per's Kevin Kurz. "They went through [a rebuild]. They’re there. I honestly think we’d be fooling ourselves.

"The rebuild is committed to. The players that fit for now and the future, their growth is going to be the primary thing. … Remember where we’re trying to get to. It’s not about here, it’s about there."

Paraphrasing Wilson, Kurz passes along the critical nugget that the Sharks, in the pursuit of postseason success, are willing to take a step backwards in the short-term. Will veteran pieces like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have the patience to go through a rebuilding process?

"That’s really the ultimate question," Wilson said when reporters posed that question. "I don’t want to put a name on you, but you’re a guy that hasn’t won, had a long career, you want to go win. You might say, ‘this doesn’t fit for me.’ I may go to the next guy who has won a Cup. He says ‘I’ve won a Cup, I want to be here, I want to be part of it. That’s an interesting part of my process, and I may want to be a coach in the future.’ I may want to have him because he just fits.

"Then you may have another guy that looks at it and says ‘jeez, I think I want [to stay], but after a couple months, they’re serious about what they want to do. It doesn’t fit for me."

Wilson also told reporters that he's made his club's new posture known around the league, and that there's a good deal of interest in Sharks players. "I’ve had a lot of calls, a lot of people at the GM meetings (last week in new York), they know where we’re going," Wilson said of the types of conversations he's having with his GM colleagues. "[We've] now become a tomorrow team. When you spell that out, it does create a response."

So perhaps there's something to both Marleau and Thornton being mentioned in trade rumors involving Eastern Conference clubs over the past month?