The San Jose Sharks have made a lot of great trades since Doug Wilson became the general manager in 2003. Wilson has an incredible ability to make magic happen with other general managers. From acquiring the legendary Joe Thornton to winning the Erik Karlsson free agency race, Wilson is truly the trade extraordinaire. Here are some of his most impressive trades over the years.
Acquiring Joe Thornton
Two years after taking over the GM position in San Jose, Wilson made his first big splash in the trading market. In 2005, Joe Thornton was 26 years old and fresh off signing a three-year, $20 million contract with the Boston Bruins. He was the captain and a pivotal part of their lineup. Wilson wanted him, though, and what Wilson wants, Wilson gets.
Wilson made a call to Bruins GM Mike O’Connell and struck a deal. The Bruins acquired Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau, and Brad Stuart for their captain, Jumbo Joe. The Sharks knew all too well how the Bruins must have felt after losing their captain. In Wilson’s not-so-shining moment, he made a deal that sent San Jose captain Owen Nolan to the Toronto Maple Leafs in his first year as general manager. How did Thornton feel about this? Surprised, to say the least. I think he’s settled in nicely, don’t you?
Adding Dan Boyle
Dan Boyle was not exactly thrilled that his former club, the Tampa Bay Lightning, decided to deal him out to the Sharks in 2008. He was a hard-working defenseman making a name for himself in the league. He should have known that when you’re having breakout seasons in the NHL, Wilson will probably come knocking on your GM’s door. That is just what he did to Boyle.
Boyle had just signed a six-year contract with the Lightning a few months prior that included a no-trade clause. However, the Lightning were quick to trade him when the opportunity arose. Wilson wanted Boyle, and lucky for him, the Sharks were one of the only teams Boyle was happy to go to.
Related: San Jose Sharks – A Brief History
After playing with Thronton, Patrick Marleau, and Rob Blake with Team Canada, Boyle felt at home with the team. So, a deal was made – the Sharks got Boyle while the Lightning acquired Matt Carle and Ty Wishart. Boyle became a fan-favorite and had an impressive career in the teal sweater.
Adding a Future Norris Trophy Winner
Now that Brent Burns has become such an iconic figure with the Sharks, it’s hard to remember a time without “The Wookiee” on the blue line. It wasn’t that long ago that Wilson made a deal with the Minnesota Wild to bring Burns to San Jose.
At 26 years old, Burns was coming off a career year. He had 17 goals and 29 assists during the 2010-11 season, which earned him a spot in the NHL All-Star Game. Burns had spent his career with the Wild, having been drafted there in 2003. Wilson envisioned a change of scenery for Burns.
A deal was made. Burns headed to San Jose in exchange for a beloved Devin Setoguchi, prospect Charlie Coyle, and a first-round draft pick. Though the winner of this trade was clear, the Wild did get some good years out of Coyle, who is now killing it with the Bruins, while Burns has become the most recognizable face of the San Jose franchise. The Sharks have had themed nights to celebrate everything from his beard to the backpack he carries to the rink every day. Burns is a well-loved figure in the city of San Jose.
Adding a Former Norris Trophy WInner
The summer of 2018 was filled with trade rumors. The Sharks were linked to a few top players who had entered free agency as the season came to a close, most notably John Tavares. He made a visit to San Jose and everyone thought he would be convinced to join the team with the combination of the wonderful weather and the wheeling and dealing Wilson is capable of.
As we know, this combination wasn’t enough. Tavares decided to go home to the Maple Leafs. Sharks fans were devastated. That is until Erik Karlsson came into the picture.
Karlsson was the captain of the Ottawa Senators. He wasn’t having the best time with the club, however. Their constant failure in the playoffs, if they made it at all, paired with drama in the locker room, made it clear that he needed a change.
The Norris Trophy-winning defenseman found a home in San Jose for next to nothing. The Sharks parted ways with Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo, two prospects, and a first and second-round draft pick. Wilson’s worked his magic again as he re-signed Karlsson to an eight-year contract extension during the summer of 2019.
A First-Round Pick for a Fourth-Liner
Due to Karlsson’s struggle with injuries, Sharks fans haven’t been as overjoyed with his time in teal as you would expect them to be. A major concern from fans has been the loss of a first-round pick after the Karlsson trade. The Sharks were running low on draft picks, but Wilson had a plan up his sleeve.
During the Game 7 of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, Barclay Goodrow saved the day with the intense overtime series-winning goal against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Sharks were down 3-0 and scored four power-play goals in five minutes to take the lead. Vegas tied it up, though, and the game went to overtime, where Goodrow scored an impressive goal that made him a team legend.
With the Sharks suffering from so many injuries this season, Goodrow filled some of the holes left behind. He even spent some time as a first-line center. When the trade deadline rolled around, Wilson knew he could make a good deal for Goodrow. That deal included getting a first-round pick again. Goodrow was dealt to the Lightning for a first-round pick and prospect Anthony Greco. Goodrow was coming off a career-high season with 24 points. Wilson was able to get a first-round pick for a center that served most of his career on the fourth-line. The man did it again.
After the disaster that is the 2019-20 season, Wilson will probably shake things up during the offseason. Do you have any trade predictions? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!
Haley is a hockey fanatic and California native. She covered the Sharks for three seasons with SB Nation’s Fear the Fin and did some work with their Bruins blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder. When she’s not yelling at the hockey game on TV, she works with rescue animals and is pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Sociology at California State Univerity San Marcos.