Following their epic first round collapse at the hands of the Kings, the fate of the San Jose Sharks depends on the approach of their owner, Hasso Plattner.
Plattner is a relatively new name to Sharks’ fans, as he just became the majority owner in 2013. The founder of SAP, Plattner has a net worth of nearly $9 billion as of 2013. The German billionaire, who has been an investor in Sharks Sports & Entertainment, bought out the shares of Kevin Compton and Stratton Sclavos last year. Compton and Sclavos made up the executive committee of the group, which currently owns the Sharks.
Thus, Plattner is now the face of the ownership group, and it will be his decisions that will impact the team. There is no doubt that he is disappointed by this last season, another year gone by without even getting close to a championship.
In an article published in the San Jose Mercury News last year, Plattner stated that he wanted to keep the current management structure in place, which means Doug Wilson as GM. It has been said that Plattner would prefer to field a playoff-caliber team every year as opposed to blowing everything up, as he believes that one of these years, the breaks will go the Sharks’ way and they will win a Cup.
But after this latest debacle, there’s no telling what Plattner has in mind. If he fires Wilson, then head coach Todd McLellan will likely be let go as well, and the entire makeup and dynamic of the organization could change.
For a franchise that has been so consistent in recent years, from the front office down to the players, such a dramatic alteration would be extremely uncharacteristic of them and quite frankly, shocking.
My best bet is that Plattner sticks to his philosophy. The Sharks definitely had the team and talent to win it all this year, and they will likely be in the hunt for at least a few more seasons. Plattner should ride it out with Wilson and McLellan, and not overreact with big changes.