In an unsurprising development, reports emanating from league insiders suggest that in the wake of Logan Couture’s injury, General Manager Doug Wilson and the rest of the Sharks brass have decided to punt on the season and regroup for next year.
However, Sharks fans shouldn’t bank on a full-blown rebuild; in fact, Pierre Lebrun of The Athletic reports that Wilson does not have any major plans to blow up the core, meaning that what we see may instead be a retool reminiscent of the 2015 off-season. In fact, selling might just entail dumping a few pending UFAs, per LeBrun.
Selling would most likely mean dangling two pending UFAs: rugged blueliner Brenden Dillon and penalty-killing forward Melker Karlsson (the Sharks are the top penalty kill team in the NHL).
But don’t expect some big plan to blow up the Sharks.
What they are hoping for is a quick pivot after some changes and getting back to playoff contention next year.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, another historically-accurate insider when it comes to Sharks news, confirmed Lebrun’s report in his most recent 31 Thoughts, claiming that Wilson has no interest in disrupting the Sharks’ core (meaning players like Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are going nowhere) and that the two players most likely to be of interest to contenders are Brenden Dillon and Melker Karlsson.
Despite having sent their 2020 first-round draft pick to Ottawa in the Erik Karlsson trade, Wilson’s decision is still unsurprising and, arguably, the most logical one for the franchise. As has been frequently reported, the franchise, hamstrung by both an awful TV deal and by long-term contracts to several players, simply cannot afford to enter a full-on rebuild. San Jose’s best shot to future success might simply be to press the ‘reset’ button and retool by hiring the right coach, signing a couple of good forwards, fixing the goaltending and having the younger players step up to plug some holes.
If this last bit sounds familiar, it’s because this is exactly what Wilson did in 2015 en-route to the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
Sharks fans will have to hope that it works out similarly this time.