The San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has made a blunt statement this week in regards to the future of the franchise: “We’re a tomorrow team”.
Despite the Sharks making it to the playoffs for the past ten years, the team always hits a wall and fails to capitalize. Ever since becoming the fourth team in NHL history to lose a series after a 3 game lead, the message has been the same: rebuilding is imminent.
“This is a phase that this organization has never gone into in the past, and maybe should have many years ago,” Wilson said.
Wilson has complete support from Sharks owner Hasso Plattner. The focus is to rebuild without the ultimate goal of making it to the Stanley Cup. At least for the time being. Wilson stated that teams such as the Los Angeles Kings stayed out of the playoffs for years prior to taking the win.
“I don’t think we feel we’re close enough with where the other teams are at,” Wilson said. “They went through [a rebuild]. They’re there. I honestly think we’d be fooling ourselves. The rebuild is committed to. The players that fit for now and the future, their growth is going to be the primary thing. Remember where we’re trying to get to. It’s not about here, it’s about there.”
The focus will remain on the future as the team transitions into a more youthful group of guys. Wilson has been saying for months that the younger guys on the roster will step into leadership roles, though it is hasn’t been stated who will be wearing a ‘C’ or ‘A’ come the start of the season.
Wilson has suggested that the older players will need to look within themselves and decide if staying with the Sharks is the best thing after considering the changes that will be made. Such players include Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Brad Stuart.
Although nothing is being released as to the future of such players, other teams throughout the NHL are taking notice. Wilson has been approached on various occasions throughout the past couple of weeks in regards to his message.
“I’ve had a lot of calls, a lot of people at the GM meetings, they know where we’re going,” Wilson said. “We now become a tomorrow team. When you spell that out, it does create a response.”
All of the rumors have fans in an uproar and many are now in the position of trying to support a team in which a future is unknown. It’s definitely a hard thing to do from a fans perspective. The Sharks have a lot of bad words being said about them, but for the time being, stand tall and support a franchise that is trying to do what it thinks is best for the future of the team. And either way you look at it, what the franchise is doing at the moment isn’t working either, so change is the only option.
The Sharks have three picks in the first two rounds during the 2014 NHL draft and the goal, of course, is to build through youth.
“We have 16 picks for a reason,” Wilson said. “We didn’t trade our first-round pick last year, we’re not trading it this year and we’re not trading it next year and probably the year after. That’s the phase we’re in.”
And on a final note, Wilson sums his entire thought process up in the following statement:
“We’ve had seven or eight 100-point seasons. We’ve had three final four appearances. We’ve had 20 playoff rounds. That all sounds nice, and the players and coaches deserve credit for that. But we have not got to where we need to get to. I think to do that, you have to take one step backward to be in a position to go two steps forward.”