Doug Wilson has served as GM of the Sharks since 2003, a tenure that’s been marked by a series of big, bold personnel moves.
So…what’s his next one?
That’s the question many are asking with San Jose coming off its lowest point total in six years and quickest postseason exit in eight. Wilson will be the man in charge of reversing this trend — ownership gave him a vote of confidence back in May — but the current NHL landscape doesn’t seem ripe for a big trade.
In the past, Wilson’s made his mark as a partner for teams looking to dance. (See: Boston and Joe Thornton, Tampa Bay and Dan Boyle, Ottawa and Dany Heatley, Minnesota and Brent Burns/Martin Havlat.)
But now, things are different — take the Rick Nash situation. It was public knowledge Columbus was shopping Nash and San Jose was believed to be on the shortlist of teams Nash would accept a trade to.
All seemed primed for Wilson to be in the mix. But in June, it was reported the Sharks and Blue Jackets hadn’t spoken about Nash “in months.”
(The sticking point appeared to be Logan Couture, who the Jackets wanted but the Sharks weren’t willing to part with.)
There’s a chance San Jose could get in the Bobby Ryan mix, though it seems unlikely Anaheim would deal to an in-state and divisional rival. Wilson could decide it’s time to part ways with Patrick Marleau, but the 32-year-old veteran didn’t sound keen on a fresh start back in July (saying he wasn’t ready to waive his no-movement clause.)
Wilson could also keep his roster intact and, should the Sharks get off to a rocky start, play his trump card — a coaching change.
It could be said hiring Larry Robinson as an associate coach this summer was Wilson’s biggest offseason move. Robinson has great pedigree and a stellar resume and if the L.A. Kings showed anything last year, it’s how vital a coaching change can be. Dean Lombardi always had an eye for Darryl Sutter and in Robinson, Wilson has an in-house candidate at the ready should Todd McLellan falter.
Robinson’s on record saying he’s not in San Jose to take McLellan’s job, but let’s face facts. With limited options at his disposal, it might be the only big move Wilson has left.