Doug Wilson said he believed this group deserved some additions this offseason. On Monday, he followed through. Bringing in Mikkel Boedker and David Schlemko filled two glaring holes and put San Jose on the right path.
Wilson hasn't ever been the type of general manager to make splashy offseason signings, but by his standards the past two years have at least troubled the surface of the water. Joel Ward, Paul Martin, Schlemko and now Boedker make four of his most notable free agent signings ever as he gives the core another swing at the Cup.
Part of that has to do with the market. San Jose has never been a haven of free agent signings. This isn't the market that gets included in every major free agent’s shortlist — or, it didn't used to be.
Now it sounds like Steven Stamkos considered signing with the Sharks and Boedker took a major pay cut to come to San Jose. It wasn’t like this in years past, but it seems that the Sharks run to the Final has greatly improved its stature as a destination for free agents.
And Wilson is taking advantage. Both Boedker and Schlemko got four year deals, admittedly a year or two longer than we would have liked, but they fill obvious gaps in a team that came ever so close to its first title. I won’t go as far as saying this is the start of a new chapter in San Jose, but it's certainly nice to see the Sharks become a team guys want to come play for.
Boedker brings some speed and offense and will fit in well on the third line with Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau. If Timo Meier doesn't seem ready to play on the top line with the Joes, Boedker could slot in there as well. Schlemko is another player that adds versatility in that he can play 5v5, on the power play and kill penalties.
The Sharks are a better team today than they were 48 hours ago and will almost certainly be a better team on opening night in 2016 than they were in 2015. While getting back to the Stanley Cup Final, let alone winning it, will take some luck and a lot of hard work it’s nice to see Wilson at least put the Sharks in a position to make something happen.
Now we just need him to get to work on that Brent Burns extension...