In a wide-ranging interview with the Mercury News, Sharks GM Doug Wilson touched on a number of subjects about his team — a team that, heading into tonight’s game in Vancouver, sits atop the Pacific Division.
San Jose is going to make the playoffs, gunning to get back to the Stanley Cup Final. In light of that, Wilson was asked the obvious:
Are you buying at the deadline?
“If something comes along that makes us a better team, absolutely,” he said. “Our history speaks for itself. We’ve always done that.”
San Jose has made the playoffs in 11 of the last 12 seasons. For context, here’s a look at Wilson’s most recent deadline activity:
2015 (missed playoffs): Traded away Andrew Desjardins, Tyler Kennedy and James Sheppard.
2014: No deals of significance.
2013: Acquired Kennedy, Raffi Torres and Scott Hannan; traded away Ryane Clowe, Michal Handzus and Douglas Murray.
Not much of a pattern here, and the ’13 deadline was especially curious — Wilson was both a buyer and seller, remodeling his roster for the playoffs while bringing in a bounty of picks for the future.
A year later, Wilson essentially stood pat and did nothing.
If we’re to harbor a guess, the Sharks and Wilson may be in a similar position this year. It’s possible they’ve already done their deadline shopping. Mikkel Boedker, signed in free agency, found his stride in January after rough start — four goals and nine points in 13 games. Wilson also waived Matt Nieto and traded away Tommy Wingels, opening up bigger opportunities at forward for Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier.
Last week, head coach Peter DeBoer said these changes made the Sharks a more formidable team than a year ago.
“I like our team,” DeBoer explained. “I think we’re better than last year, sitting where we are right now. The young guys have added a dimension to our team. I think we’re deeper.”
If there is something the Sharks might look to address, it’s speed. Though they’re regarded as one of the NHL’s best skating clubs, they were wowed at how slow they were compared to the Pens in last year’s Cup Final, which was one of the big reasons Boedker was brought aboard.
And hey, you can never have too much speed.
“We were fast,” DeBoer said of last year’s team, with a chuckle. “Until we saw Pittsburgh.”