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GM Wilson suggests Sharks might need to ‘take one step backwards’

May 16, 2014, 9:02 AM EST

Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton AP

The San Jose Sharks have advanced to the postseason for 10 consecutive seasons and if they stay the course, they will probably continue to make the playoffs for many years to come. That’s not what San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson is ultimately after though.

“This is a team that’s accomplished quite a bit over the last decade, but regular season success has not gotten us to that ultimate playoff success that we all talk about,” Wilson told CSN Bay Area. “We haven’t gotten to that level. We’ve had [seven] 100-point seasons (since 2003-04), we’ve had three final four appearances, we’ve had 20 playoff rounds.

“That all sounds nice, and the players and coaches deserve credit for that, but we have not gotten to where we need to get to.

“And, I think to do that, you have to take one step backwards to be in a position to go two steps forward.”

Wilson has already made it clear that defenseman Dan Boyle or forward Martin Havlat won’t be back and he wants Brent Burns to shift back to defense, but that might just be the beginning of the Sharks’ makeover.

He wants the team to get younger and while he didn’t go into detail about the possibility of making trades, he did counter the argument that players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau would be difficult to move because of their reported no-movement clauses.

“We don’t have that many restrictive contracts, and a lot of the details in those contracts have flexibility and windows to them,” Wilson said.

He also made it clear that nothing was off the table and promised “more drastic (moves) than putting a Band-Aid on it,” per the San Jose Mercury News.

The presence of Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture insure that the Sharks will remain dangerous offensively if one or both of Thornton and Marleau are traded. The team also had some promising rookies this season in forwards Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto.

With Marleau and Thornton both set to turn 35 before the start of the 2014-15 campaign, the window of opportunity to win with them is closing. Perhaps it would be better for the Sharks long-term future if they focused on trying to get something significant in return for them while that’s a possibility.

Still, Wilson has stuck with them through previous summers following disappointing playoff runs. This one might prove to be no different in that regard.

Related:

Sharks owner ‘very disappointed,’ but McLellan’s job is safe

  1. avscup - May 16, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Um…correct me if I’m wrong but haven’t they done that each of the past 5 years during the SCP?

  2. capsnbohs23 - May 16, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Take Mike Green from us here in DC, that will certainly give you that “step back” you’re looking for

  3. sharksfan97 - May 16, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    With Shero fired, can we now fire Wilson and hire #sherotoSharks

    • thefutureofoil - May 16, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      Why? So you can have 5 years of bad drafts?

  4. gohawks7 - May 16, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    “With Marleau and Thornton both set to turn 35 before the start of the 2014-15 campaign, the window of opportunity to win with them is closing. Perhaps it would be better for the Sharks long-term future if they focused on trying to get something significant in return for them while that’s a possibility.”

    YES YES YES YES YES.

    The window of opportunity to win with Thornton and Marleau has never even been unlocked and open. These are 2 of the biggest choke artists in the league….get something for them while you can!!!

  5. canucks30 - May 16, 2014 at 1:08 PM

  6. hookersdontsnuggle - May 16, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    ZERO chance they get moved. They aren’t waving their no trade clauses to go play somewhere else and living apart from their families. What a waste of time this article was.

  7. crushed49 - May 16, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    First, I want to say I love the Sharks, they are my fave team and Marleau is and will always be my fave player.

    The guys ‘in charge’ of deciding who stays and who goes, better take a closer look at what Pavs apparently needs to score. A large percentage of his goals during the reg season were ‘given’ to him by Thorton setting them up for him. Honestly, I don’t really care that much for Thorton, however, give credit where it’s due. Yes, Thorton got the assists, but it seems like most people forget that Pavs had a lot of help getting the numbers he did.

    As far as Marleau, of course, I for one will be pissed off if he leaves. I’ll be the first to admit he has good games and bad games. But, does that not apply to every single athlete out there – good game vs bad game? Looking at his stats over the past few seasons, it seems he has a much, much higher good game average. I can’t count the number of articles I read specificly about Marleau, calling him the ‘the most consistent player’ on the Sharks.

    Before ‘they’ choose, they may want to really look at what the ‘old’ guys really do for the up and coming guys, who one day will be ‘BIG’ names of hockey. Just my thoughts/opinions -not trying to start an argument.

    • titansrbeast - May 16, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      hate to be “that” guy but as a Sharks fan, you should know it’s ThorNton, not Thorton. That really bugs me.

      • gohawks7 - May 16, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        Yeah….the N stands for “No show come playoff time”.

      • titansrbeast - May 16, 2014 at 6:51 PM

        Ohhh that was so good! *Yawn*

      • crushed49 - May 16, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        Sorry – normally catch those…I hate typing on my phone! :/

      • titansrbeast - May 16, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        Haha I don’t care, just irritated me ; P

  8. gohawks7 - May 16, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    If I were a player…and the fan base was down on me and asking for my head on a platter…I would be waiving my no-trade clause if the team could move me to good opportunity.

  9. tundra67 - May 16, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    Two years ago, at the end of the playoffs I was sure it was Marleau that had to go. But I’ve come to think he was having some trouble re-adjusting to having the “C” taken off and being put (mostly) on the 2nd line. Now that he is acclimated, and playing with Couture, his high level of play has returned and he has been quite consistent, and pretty darn clutch at many points. He should retire a Shark.

    Up until now, I have been willing to give Thornton a pass. At most points of elimination, the goaltending and depth on the 3rd/s 4ths or defense was not sufficient to hold up for 3-4 series. Sure, for 1 or 2, or even most of 3 series, if the offense was timely and on a real hot streak. Or if Nabby/Niemi stole a game or two.

    But now that the depth overall on the team is better, it looks (to me) more like a specific problem w/Joe. He just will not go to the dirty areas much – floats around at the edge more often than not.
    He does not have that “I’m going to dominate this opponent, score a goal tonight, and carry this team forward no matter what” mentality. Yes, he works really hard and has great skill. He’s among the greatest set-up guys the league has ever seen, and Hall of Fame player in my book. But more and more it looks like he will be a Dan Marino type – never quite able to get over the top, or lead guys over the top to the prize.

    Trade him now, (providing the no-trade is not iron-clad >> as Wilson suggests above), and get what you can for him >> a high pick or two and a quality defenseman. Make Couture the captain, Vlasic of course as one of the “A”s. Drop Havlat and Boyle (as they are doing) and maybe a couple more, bring up Mirco Mueller, and go from there …

    • gohawks7 - May 16, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      Yeah….Marleau is great in non-elimination games. But as soon as the pressure gets turned up…all he does is wrist soft shots into the goalie’s chest. Doesn’t have it….never will.

  10. norcalsportsknowledge - May 17, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    Good way of protecting your job next yr! So if Wilson doesn’t get it done next yr, he can say it was all part of the plan.

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