Sharks Looking To Contend With a New General Manager

The San Jose Sharks recently announced that the long-time general manager (GM) of the franchise, Doug Wilson, will be stepping down from his position. Since November, he had already missed substantial time with the organization, citing medical reasons as the cause. However, the short-term hiatus eventually turned into Wilson’s official departure from the team.

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Now that Wilson is no longer the Sharks’ GM, the search for his replacement has begun. While current interim GM Joe Will runs the show right now, the owners of the franchise will look to find someone that can live up to the standard Wilson set. However, Sharks’ owner Hasso Plattner has made one thing abundantly clear, no matter who takes over the role, the team will look to win now.

Sharks Continuing to Avoid the Rebuild

In a statement made by Will following Wilson’s departure, he made it very clear that the intention for the Sharks going forward is to compete for a Stanley Cup. Will believes that there is a level of competitive energy in the locker room that could bring San Jose their first-ever championship. However, this statement by the interim GM did not sit well with the fans.

The Sharks have been in desperate need of a rebuild, or at least a retool, for a while. Recently, they were eliminated from playoff contention, which marks the third year in a row that they have fallen short. While three straight years of no playoffs may seem minuscule in the grand scheme of things, it set a franchise record for most years in a row without a chance to win the Cup.

The Sharks have plenty of prospects that could join the team and make an impact, but they do not have the roster quality to compete for a championship. However, making trades to fill in the gaps could leave the team even more vulnerable. Any series of trades that risk future assets could leave the Sharks exposed if they go sideways. Management avoiding a rebuild seems to be the wrong move by all accounts.

Looking at the Sharks’ Long Road Ahead

The Sharks are in a bizarre spot currently. They have a team that cannot seem to win games routinely, but their prospect pool is not dry. They have plenty of players, such as top prospect William Eklund, that could make an impact on the team in the next few years. Technically, waiting for the team to fix itself through the prospect pool is a viable option, but this seems to be a route that the Sharks are looking to avoid.

William Eklund San Jose Sharks
William Eklund, San Jose Sharks (Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

However, while the Sharks are capable of waiting for a change to happen naturally, management and players seem to resent this idea. They want to win now, yet, that option seems the least beneficial to the team’s future. Winning now would require so many circumstances to click perfectly into place. The older players need to return to form, the young players need to immediately impact the roster, and finally, the goaltending issues need to resolve themselves. All in all, it just does not seem plausible.

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Luckily, this year will provide another high first-round draft pick for the Sharks. Considering the depth of the upcoming 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the team should be able to add another talented player to their core in the near future. However, unless they win the draft lottery, the player they select will most likely not change the face of the franchise. Therefore, if the Sharks want to win, they will need to decide what they want to do.

Sharks Trying to Navigate Hurt Feelings

The future GM of the Sharks will have his work cut out for them. Whether he decides to go down the route of a rebuild or continue to contend, someone will be upset. The fans want a rebuild, but the players, including captain Logan Couture, want to win now. As a result, he will face ridicule one way or another, but who that ridicule will come from will be determined by what the team does.

If Will’s interim tag is removed, fans already have a decent idea of the team’s direction. Even if Wilson largely influenced that decision, he was responsible for putting pen to paper with Tomas Hertl’s new contract. In addition, Will seems to want to follow Plattner’s wishes with contention, which will make him a promising GM candidate to the owners of the franchise.

Tomas Hertl San Jose Sharks
Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The new GM will need to face a variety of questions when the time comes, but for now, the Sharks should focus on simply finding someone to fill the position. The only thing worse than missing the playoffs three years in a row with no direction is missing four years in a row with even less direction. Once the team finds one, they can begin to address the on-ice issues. For the sake of all Sharks fans, hopefully, the journey of hiring a new one will bring the team some level of success soon.