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NHL free agency not right direction for San Jose Sharks

As Doug Wilson said, turning the team over to a new young core is not going to happen while bringing in more established stars.
As Doug Wilson said, turning the team over to a new young core is not going to happen while bringing in more established stars.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

NHL free agency options


General manager Doug Wilson of the San Jose Sharks has never been very active in free agency. Considering the lack of a Stanley Cup in his tenure despite making the playoffs all 10 times, fans may be disappointed to learn what he told CSN Bay Area Insider Kevin Kurz Thursday, May 22:

(W)hen you’re turning the team over to a younger core, you’ve got to be careful who you bring in from the outside that ends up superseding them. We’re giving them the opportunity. Here’s your team.

Wilson added that it is important to explore all options, but it is obvious no major player is going to come in and save his new team from itself in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The leadership that eventually does that already exists in San Jose's dressing room or it will have to be found by the next general manager.

Under Wilson, the Sharks have the best record in the regular season and are behind only the Chicago Blackhawks in conference finals appearances. Nevertheless, he is going to have to build a real contender to stay off the hot seat.

Even first-round Stanley Cup playoff victories do not matter anymore. San Jose has yet to be a real contender because it does not win games in late May.

The consequences of becoming statistically the biggest choker in North American sports history extend beyond the ice. In a "well, duh" announcement Kurz reported Friday, the Sharks are not raising their season ticket prices. Consumers will only pay more for a quality product, and that is measured by Stanley Cups (or at least Campbell Trophies!) in the NHL (or Western Conference).

If that leader is not already in the dressing room, it will be Wilson's replacement that finds him. It is clear neither he nor coach Todd McLellan think the team should remain under its current leadership.

If Joe Thornton remains on the team after almost certainly losing the captaincy, that would make him the second deposed San Jose captain in five seasons. The team would be on its fourth in seven years once the 2014-15 NHL season begins.

Rarely does someone lose the captaincy and stay with the team. If it happens here for the Sharks, Thornton could skate with fellow deposed captain Patrick Marleau, who may well choose not to waive his no-movement clause.

Wilson may be hoping Thornton does not want to stay where he lost his leadership post. There is a better chance he waives his no-movement clause considering that circumstance and that he has spent seven fewer seasons in San Jose than Marleau. He will probably also get a little more return.

It would be hard to see how moving neither could signal much of the change Wilson promised, especially if no major free agent is brought aboard. However, the message it sends to the future core is just one of the pictured reasons he is right to avoid going the free agency route to cure the Stanley Cup playoff ills of the Sharks...