The NHL expansion draft is over. Now comes the hard part for Doug Wilson

SAN JOSE – Multiple Sharks players said at some point during or near the end of the season that they were not interested in being part of a rebuild. Sharks upper management, too, avoided using the dreaded ‘r’ word, choosing instead the more palatable ‘reset.’

“That’s not something we want to live through,” Sharks president Jonathan Becher said of a full rebuild. “It’d be hard for me to sell a three-year season ticket plan to somebody and say, ‘and we plan not to be good for the next three to four years.’”

If the Sharks hope to break out of their two-year malaise and chart on a winning course for next season and beyond, the process needs to kick into high gear in the next week.

With the expansion draft in the rear-view mirror, the Sharks begin a weeklong — and perhaps transformative — period that includes the NHL Draft, the end of the first contract buyout window, and the start of free agency. Also, as of today, any NHL team – not just the Seattle Kraken – can resume making trades.

Simply put, this is the most critical part of the offseason for the Sharks and general manager Doug Wilson. And he and his staff know they have to get it right after missing the playoffs the last two seasons.

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“Historically anytime where we’ve fallen down, skinned our knees, and not had a year that met up to our standards, we bounced back because of the work that was done by everybody from the end of that season to the next training camp,” Wilson said. “So there’s a lot of work to be done by everybody in our organization.”

“(Wilson) has never been shy about examining all possibilities and being aggressive,” TSN hockey analyst Craig Button told this news organization in an interview.

“When I look at his past history and the mentality that he has that we’re going to be competitive, and I look at the division — which I think is really important — depending on what else they do, yes, absolutely based on the division, they have a chance to make the playoffs.”

Friday will mark the first day of the NHL Draft, in which the Sharks have the No. 7 pick, their highest since 2003 when they drafted Milan Michalek sixth overall.

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While no one player will be able to turn the Sharks’ fortunes around overnight, the Sharks need to find someone who can contribute within the next two or three seasons. This year’s draft is felt to be deep through the first 10 or so picks.

“We know we’re going to get a difference-maker in the top seven,” Wilson said.

Next Tuesday will be the last day of the NHL’s first buyout period, and there’s reason to suspect the Sharks will buy out the remaining three years of goalie Martin Jones’ contract.

Jones has mostly struggled each of the last three …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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