Whatever moves San Jose Sharks’ GM Doug Wilson make this offseason will have a resounding effect on the future of the franchise. Will he rebuild and start over, or will he keep all his pieces in place and make another run with the same core?
Refuting the latter point, we know Wilson will not keep the status quo. He has to make some moves and try to find a winning formula. And that may start with looking at Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, the two stalwarts and leaders of the team.
On Sunday, Wilson told Tim Kawikami of the San Jose Mercury News, “I want players that want to play here, not just live here.”
According to Kawikami, “That was pretty much all Wilson chose to say in our phone conversation last week, and really, it was all Wilson had to communicate.”
He didn’t mention any names, but Wilson was undoubtedly referring to Thornton and Marleau, both of whom signed three-year extensions during last season to stay with the Sharks. Thornton has been with the Sharks for nine seasons; Marleau for 16. They both have made it clear that they love living in San Jose, and probably signed an extension to stay for less than they could have gotten on the open market.
Although Wilson surely appreciates getting a discount, again, he doesn’t want players who “just want to live here.” He wants players who want to play, and he doesn’t care whether they love or hate San Jose. Wilson needs to do his best to keep emotions out of his decisions this offseason. Yes, Thornton and Marleau have been with the team for a long time and have contributed so much, but if Wilson feels that moving on would be the best decision, he needs to do it and not second-guess himself. Wilson wants winners; players who come to San Jose to work hard and win a championship, not players who want a comfortable living situation.
Here is the crossroads between Thornton and Marleau and the Sharks; do they want to play here, or just live here?