Skip to content

Trying to make sense of the ‘rebuild’ in San Jose

Aug 6, 2014, 10:48 AM EDT

Patrick Marleau Joe Thornton AP

San Jose general manager Doug Wilson has always maintained that any conversations he had with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau would remain private. So it’s impossible to conclude, exactly, what’s been said between the club and the two veterans since the Sharks blew a 3-0 series lead versus the Kings in the first round of the 2014 playoffs.

That said, a lot of people have hazarded a guess. Because, in public, Wilson has thrown out cryptic comments like, “I want players that want to play here, not just live here,” and, “I don’t want to put a name on you, but you’re a guy that hasn’t won, had a long career, you want to go win. You might say, ‘this doesn’t fit for me.’”

Combine those remarks with the Sharks’ decision to not re-sign veteran Dan Boyle and to trade another veteran, Brad Stuart, and then consider Wilson’s stated intention to “turn the team over to the younger core, make some tough decisions, clarify our culture and the hierarchy of our team,” and you’d be excused if your conclusion was this:

Wilson wanted to trade Thornton and Marleau. Except the two players, each of whom hold a no-movement clause, refused to go.

(And you could hardly blame them for refusing to be forced out. The Sharks had only just re-signed the pair in January, giving each player a three-year contract that Wilson said at the time “fit with our team building philosophy.” Translation: they could’ve received more on the open market, but they really wanted to stay in San Jose, so they took a hometown discount.)

In July, Wilson was left to try and clarify the “rebuild.” Or maybe a better word for it was backtracking?

“I can understand when people say there are different types of rebuild,” he told the Mercury News. “We’re not going to finish last to try and draft people first or second. This is not something this franchise can do, because we already have some good players in key positions. You’re not going to see us with 50 points next year — we’re too good a team for that.”

Instead, Wilson said the Sharks intended to rebuild their culture and become a more tightly knit group — a plan that includes giving more leadership responsibilities to young players like Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun.

Where does that leave Thornton and Marleau? Hard to say. But it would be a surprise if Thornton were still wearing a ‘C’ and Marleau an ‘A’ come the start of the season.

Could that make for an awkward dynamic in the dressing room? Yep, it could. And that could be a distraction.

On the other hand, it could also turn out for the best. There are many who believe Wilson overreacted to the loss, devastating as it was, to the Kings, who went on to win their second Stanley Cup in three years. After all, the Boston Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead in 2010 and came back to win it all in 2011.

Granted, the Bruins didn’t have the history of postseason disappointments that the Sharks have. But San Jose was a very good team in the 2013-14 regular season. Its reward for finishing with 111 points? A match-up with Los Angeles. Which was a bit unlucky.

At any rate, San Jose is going to be a very interesting team to watch next season. And assuming the Sharks make the playoffs, which they should, an even more interesting team to watch then.

Latest Posts
  1. ‘We never quit fighting,’ says Pardy with Jets down 2-0 to Ducks

    Apr 19, 2015, 2:51 AM EDT

    Winnipeg Jets v Anaheim Ducks - Game Two Getty Images

    It will be interesting to see what happens as this series heads to Winnipeg.

  2. Video: Kesler catches Myers with illegal hit to the head

    Apr 18, 2015, 11:56 PM EDT

    Getty Images

    Anaheim’s veteran forward received a minor penalty on the play.

  3. Eichel understands Murray’s disappointment, but ‘extreme competitor’ has ‘a lot to offer’

    Apr 18, 2015, 11:13 PM EDT

    BU's Jack Eichel A Standout At World Junior Training Camp Getty Images

    “I think I bring a really good winning attitude and I have a lot to offer offensively.”

  4. Video: Sidney Crosby strikes twice to bust personal playoff scoring slump

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:20 PM EDT

    Had one goal in 19 playoff games prior to Saturday.

  5. Video: Rangers’ Stepan opens scoring with perfect shot top corner

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:25 PM EDT

    Getty Images

    These teams combined for eight shots in the opening period.

  6. So…what do the Oilers do now?

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:08 PM EDT

    Craig MacTavish. AP

    Craig MacTavish has some decisions to make, now that he’s won the Connor McDavid sweepstakes.

  7. WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action

    Apr 18, 2015, 7:33 PM EDT

    AP

    Can the Penguins and Jets even things up?

  8. Babcock to go with Mrazek for Game 3

    Apr 18, 2015, 7:01 PM EDT

    AP

    Not wasting any time.

  9. Tarasenko’s hat trick has the Wild singing the Blues

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    AP

    This series is all tied up at 1-1.

  10. Hartley fined $50,000 after brawl between Flames and Canucks

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:44 PM EDT

    Deryk Engelland’s game misconduct for instigating was rescinded.

  11. Here are the East finalists for Kraft Hockeyville

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:13 PM EDT

    HockeyVille

    Congrats to Pullar Stadium and War Memorial Arena.

  12. Here are the West finalists for Kraft Hockeyville

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:13 PM EDT

    HockeyVille

    Congrats to Decatur and St. Michael-Albertville.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. M. Pacioretty (3974)
  2. K. Letang (3083)
  3. R. Nash (2937)
  4. P. Kane (2904)
  5. M. Stone (2565)