San Jose GM Doug Wilson met with the media Monday — following news that head coach Todd McLellan would not return next season — and said that, after a “transitional year” in which the team missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons, next year would be different.
“We’re going to bounce back very quickly,” Wilson said. “We said last summer there would be a transition and this was the year we’d go through it. We stayed true to our word. We had complete clarity with what we were going to do, and that’s what we did. We’re looking to have a quick bounce. We missed the playoffs this year.
“Did we think we’re a good enough team to make the playoffs? Yes, we do. Do we expect to be a playoff team next year? Yes, we do.”
The question now, of course, is if Wilson will be around to see the Sharks get back in. He said he’s yet to finish his player reviews and added his own evaluation still needs to be completed by owner Hasso Plattner:
Among other things, Wilson said his own evaluation with #SJSharks has not been completed, not assured by owner he wil be back next season..
— David Pollak (@PollakOnSharks) April 20, 2015
Wilson’s evaluation as GM has not been completed yet. He’s talked to Hasso, but hasn’t had a face-to-face in about a month #SJSharks
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzCSN) April 20, 2015
While there are signs Wilson might return — he spoke at length about how he’d conduct the new coaching search, and constantly reiterated that this “transitional year” was all part of his master plan — there are, clearly, no guarantees. Like Wilson, Boston GM Peter Chiarelli was allowed to conduct an end-of-year presser that included some fairly significant decisions (specifically, confirmation that veterans Dan Paille and Gregory Campbell wouldn’t be resigned) but was fired just two days later.
Speaking of getting fired, Wilson was adamant that’s not what happened with McLellan. The Sharks GM repeatedly mentioned it was a “mutual decision” between he and McLellan, and quickly shot down comments that the coach was forced out, like what happened with Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers.
“Completely inaccurate,” Wilson said. “You can ask myself, you can ask Todd. It was a mutual [decision], I shared the process with you and that’s what took place.”
So, the big question still remains: Should, and will, Wilson be retained and put in charge of finding a new bench boss? If he is, it’ll be just the second coaching hire of his 12-year career in San Jose (he inherited Ron Wilson, lest we forget.) Which means the next order of business isn’t the hire — it’s Wilson trying to convince Plattner he’s the right guy to make it.