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Wilson: Sharks don’t believe in rebuilding, want to ‘reset on the fly’

Jun 17, 2013, 2:27 PM EDT


With a number of key players ready to hit free agency at the end of next season — Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture — San Jose GM Doug Wilson could go a number of directions with his club’s future.

One direction he won’t go, though, is the way of a rebuild.

“We’re not a team that’s going to miss the playoffs for five or seven years and go into a rebuild,” Wilson told CSN Bay Area. “We don’t believe in that.

“We want to reset on the fly, and it only works when you have players that understand what it is we’re trying to accomplish, and participate in it.”

To that end, Wilson has already begun contract extension talks with Couture, a pending RFA likely to get a hefty raise on his two-year, $5.75 million deal that expires next July.

The decision to lock up Couture now is a no-brainer.

The 24-year-old emerged as arguably the club’s top player in 2013, a guy head coach Todd McLellan said was “driving the bus” down the stretch and through the playoffs.

(According to reports from CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz and CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, sounds as though San Jose could extend Pavelski this summer as well.)

This does beg a question, though: What becomes of the guys that used to drive the bus?

Thornton and Marleau will be 35 and 34, respectively, when their deals expire at the end of 2013-14 (both have full no-movement clauses, according to Capgeek.)

Boyle will be 38, with a modified NTC where he can select eight teams he won’t accept a trade to.

If Wilson’s goal is to ‘reset on the fly,’ dealing any of these three could be in play.

Center depth is hard to come by in the NHL, and the Sharks have it in spades with Couture, Thornton, Marleau and 2012 first-rounder Tomas Hertl, who’s expected to challenge for a roster spot next season.

Boyle’s no stranger to trade rumors, as his name made the rounds at this year’s deadline.

Finally, there’s Wilson’s history.

He’s remade the Sharks on several occasions already by making “hockey trades” — Michalek/Cheechoo-for-Heatley, Setoguchi/Coyle-for-Burns, Heatley-for-Havlat — rather than trying to stockpile picks.

This year he did more of the same, moving out Ryane Clowe, Michal Handzus and Douglas Murray at the deadline while bringing in Scott Hannan and Raffi Torres.

In the end, though, Wilson says his decisions moving forward are tied to two things — financial flexibility, and players who “get” what the Sharks are doing.

“We have a lot of flexibility going forward. We have lots of flexibility in two years, which ties into some of the players [Pavelski, Couture] that you’re asking about us signing this summer,” he explained.

“We’ve been fortunate to have players that understand what we’re trying to accomplish.”

  1. ron05342 - Jun 17, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    The Calgary Flames say hello.

    • mrpinkca - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      Doug Wilson isn’t Jay Feaster.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:28 PM

        You’re right, Feaster has a Stanley Cup ring as a GM, Wilson has a bunch of disappointing results.

  2. billsin20xx - Jun 17, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    As a Sabre fan I envy them. Our brilliant GM says that we have to learn to suffer a few more years until they can rebuild.
    f’ em!

  3. billyhauntswizards - Jun 17, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    I think Wilson did a solid job this year with his trades. Hannan and Torres were excellent down the stretch and in the playoffs.

  4. johnwwt1976 - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Thornton is going to be 34 this summer not 35 and Marleau has been a left winger for the last 5 years!!

    • 19to77 - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      Marleau’s still entirely capable of playing the position. Thornton and Couture are just better at it, so he plays the wing. It’s not like he’s forgotten how if they choose to convert him back.

  5. 19to77 - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Could stand for more puck-moving D. Boyle’s the only true offensive defenseman they’ve got after moving Burns up to forward (which was a good call) and he is, as was mentioned, 38 years old.

    Although having Pavelski on the third line made for some deep offensive talent, losing Torres and Havlat kind of ruined everything. The reconstructed bottom six were barely able to contribute at all. Realistically, they have to assume Havlat will be on IR and Torres will get suspended at least once a year each. These things seem to just happen, every season. Torres is clearly worth keeping for his performance (if not his judgement on how to throw a hit), but Havlat… questionable. I wouldn’t object to a buyout there. He’s good when healthy, but hurt too frequently. They should try to bring in some more depth forwards who can chip in offensively, so as to be better-prepared for that situation if it happens again.

  6. joelwrobinson - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Love it.

  7. kingsforever - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Every team that says this. Either is rebuilding, sucks, or is about to be/do either

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