Doug Wilson once again made a couple of great signings to begin the offseason as team teal should be primed for another run next year.
Throughout most of his tenure as general manager of the San Jose Sharks, Doug Wilson has often stayed out of the initial fray that is free agency. Once the market opens on July 1st, Wilson tends to prefer the smaller name deals rather than chase many of the big names.
However, following their collapse against the Kings in 2014 and a disastrous campaign the following season, Wilson adjusted his tactic just a bit. The results have been a breath of fresh air for fans of the Sharks.
Last year, Wilson targeted Paul Martin when free agency opened, and he was the perfect fit alongside Brent Burns on the blue line for San Jose. It’s no wonder Burns had his best season of his career with the steady and reliable Martin as his partner.
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Then, after addressing the back end, he decided to bolster the forward ranks and that’s just what he did when he gave Joel Ward a three-year, $9.825M deal. Wilson targeted Ward because of the character he would add to the room but also for his playoff pedigree.
Ward repaid that faith by posting the second-best season of his career with 21 goals and 43 points in San Jose. He added to his playoff reputation by tying for third on the Sharks with seven goals during the playoffs and finished tied for fifth with 13 postseason points.
Throw in the trade for Martin Jones and Wilson really struck gold with all three moves last summer.
After the disappointing end in the Stanley Cup Final, it was interesting to see how Wilson would approach this offseason as team teal looks to bounce back next year.
When the free agency period opened, Wilson stayed true to form in not chasing any of the big names out on the market.
The first move he made was targeting a depth defenseman which fits right into his M.O. Wilson snagged David Schlemko in a nice, under-the-radar signing to a team-friendly four-year deal.
With many, including myself, figuring that Wilson was done for the day, he surprised many by dipping back into the market for a speedy winger. Mikkel Boedker is exactly the kind of piece the Sharks could use as they were clearly a step behind the Penguins in the Cup Finals.
By snatching up Boedker, who is also just 26-years-old, San Jose was able to add another dynamic piece to their forward ranks and someone who is entering the prime of their career.
Both of these signings should immediately challenge for ice time with the Sharks who have the look of a Stanley Cup contender heading into next season.
For the second-straight season, Wilson has stepped out of his comfort zone a bit by signing some relatively-big names in free agency. With the success Martin and Ward had this season, it’s easy to see why he went after it again with the Schlemko and Boedker signings.
It’s been quite a turnaround for Wilson over the past two years after nearly breaking apart this franchise to one that has the looks of challenging for the ultimate prize once again.