The San Jose Sharks might be the most intriguing team of the NHL offseason. And that says a lot, because there are a lot of intriguing teams out there. But here are just a few of the things we’re wondering about San Jose:
Does general manager Doug Wilson really believe his 111-point squad needs a rebuild? Or, is it just a way to force Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to waive their no-trade clauses and move on? Because 111-point teams that come within a game of eliminating the Stanley Cup champs don’t typically need to be torn down.
Also, how much of what Wilson is saying has to do with the Sharks’ first-round loss to the Kings — a series San Jose led 3-0 — and how much has to do with the club’s financial picture?
Heck, how much of this is just Wilson’s anger and embarrassment talking?
Whatever the answers to those questions, columnist Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News thinks the Sharks might be “having a bit of a nervous breakdown right now, under financial and competitive pressure.”
The revamping of the roster has to happen because the Sharks can’t hold back all re-tooling just for that one Cup run when they’ve finally concluded that their most famous guys aren’t destined to lead anybody to a Cup.
Also, behind the scenes, it has been presumed for a few years now that the Sharks will be seeking a new arena very soon to replace SAP Center, which is almost always sold out and is a fine place to see a game but just doesn’t have the mega-revenue-generating features of the new wave of buildings.
I’ve heard for a while now that there is room in Santa Clara near Levi’s Stadium for a hockey arena and that there might have already been some informal conversations about the Sharks’ situation.
The Sharks are also reportedly trying to renegotiate their local TV deal, their financial losses, despite a passionate fan base and strong attendance figures, being nothing new. Fortunately, the club has an owner in Hasso Plattner with extremely deep pockets. And while the business may lose money on operations, franchise values of sports teams have skyrocketed in recent years.
Anyway, the latest rumor has Thornton interested in joining the New York Rangers, and only the New York Rangers.
We have a feeling it won’t be the last Sharks-related scuttlebutt of the summer.