In this edition of San Jose Sharks News & Rumors, Mike Grier will reportedly be named the organization’s general manager (GM) this afternoon. In other news, Evander Kane’s second grievance hearing is likely to take place after free agency begins on July 13. Meanwhile, there is talk that the Sharks may be a landing spot for Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi. Last but certainly not least, head coach Bob Boughner will not be back for the 2022-23 season.
Grier to Be Named Sharks General Manager
According to several reports on Monday and Tuesday, the Sharks are set to announce Grier as their new GM. The organization announced via Twitter that they have a press conference this afternoon when they are expected to make the announcement.
Grier, 47, will become the first Black man in history to become a GM in the NHL. Before now, he was working with the New York Rangers as a hockey operations advisor and had previously spent time with the New Jersey Devils as an assistant coach. He also enjoyed a lengthy 1,060-game NHL career, which included stints with the Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres, and Sharks.
Grier has a tough road ahead. He comes into an organization that has a number of aging players on ugly contracts with term, making it seem to most that a rebuild – or at the very least, a retool – might be the best strategy. However, it has been reported that owner Hasso Plattner expects to turn things around as soon as the 2022-23 season, making this a potentially difficult job to impress in.
Kane’s Second Grievance Hearing Date Unknown
Free agency is just over a week away, but the status surrounding Kane and his future remain unknown. According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, a second grievance hearing date with the Sharks has not yet been set but is unlikely to take place before July 13, when Kane will become an unrestricted free agent.
This is an odd situation, given that many teams, including the Oilers, have a high interest in signing Kane. However, without a hearing, teams will have to turn their interest elsewhere rather than wait and hope it goes how they want. Perhaps a second hearing will happen sooner than expected, but that doesn’t appear to be the case as of now.
Sharks May Have Interest in Puljujarvi
It has become clear recently that the Oilers and Puljujarvi will be parting ways. The 23-year-old restricted free agent and management believe a change of scenery is best, and a trade announcement is expected as soon as the draft on July 7-8. According to Oilers insider Mark Spector, the Sharks could be interested in the Finnish winger.
“San Jose may also be a destination,” Spector suggested. “Though with the Sharks in the process of hiring a new GM, that could complicate a process both sides hope to wrap up prior to next Thursday’s draft.”
Puljujarvi is a polarizing player. The analytical side loves him, pointing out his defensive contributions along with his ability to create scoring chances. Meanwhile, the eye test crowd points to low offensive numbers despite spending plenty of time playing alongside Connor McDavid.
Regardless, he is still relatively young and was selected fourth overall in the 2016 Draft, proving that he is a very talented player. On top of that, he is rumored to be going for cheap, as Spector believes he could be moved for just a second or third-round pick, making him an intriguing option for many teams.
Sharks Move on From Boughner
On Friday, it was announced that the Sharks will not be bringing back Boughner, as well as assistant coaches John Madden and John MacLean, for the 2022-23 season. This move was expected after the organization missed the playoffs for the third straight year, though it is somewhat confusing that they waited until July to do so.
“As we progress through our search for the next general manager of the Sharks following 19 seasons under Doug Wilson’s leadership, it has become apparent that the organization is in the process of an evolution,” said interim GM Joe Will. “The bottom line is we have missed the playoffs for the past three seasons, which isn’t acceptable to our owner, our organization, or to our fans. As part of this evolution and evaluation, we felt it was in the best interest of the club to allow the next Sharks general manager to have full autonomy related to the makeup of the on-ice coaching staff moving forward.”
Boughner, 51, was named the Sharks’ head coach midway through the 2019-20 season. He coached 175 games, leading them to a rather lousy record of 67-85-23. He also spent two seasons as the head coach for the Florida Panthers before that.
Looking Ahead for the Sharks
With their new GM reportedly decided on in Grier, the organization’s focus must now shift to the draft, free agency, and a new head coach. As far as coaches go, there are still some very intriguing options available, though it is likely that they are in no rush to pick one and will likely go through a lengthy search, as they did with the GM position. While it may take some time, it appears the Sharks are beginning to move in the right direction.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.