When general managers are willing to part with a floundering team’s pending UFA’s for draft picks, it leaves their respective fan bases wondering if there is a rebuild on the horizon. The speculation is all the more rampant when the team making this move is only two or so years from being considered a Stanley Cup Contender and is likely going to make the postseason this year.
When San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson did just that by sending hulking veteran defenseman Douglas Murray to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2nd round pick in 2013 and a conditional 2nd round pick in 2014 this left the Sharks faithful puzzled. Was this once mighty franchise, picked year after year to win the Stanley Cup, only two years removed from a Conference Final gearing up for a rebuild?
Nick Cotsonika released a series of tweets related to a conversation he had with Wilson, in which he states the Sharks aren’t rebuilding, but rather refreshing.
Doug Wilson on rebuilding: "We don't use the world 'rebuild' because that classically means six, seven years." Prefers "reset" or "refresh."
— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) March 25, 2013
Sounds an awful lot like a rebuild to me. Cotsonika goes on to add that Wilson is taking calls on all player’s and is fully aware of how deep this draft class is. I’m not expecting a fire sale, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I think the days of the Sharks contending are long gone. As such, rather than panic, Sharks fans should rejoice that Wilson has the foresight to acknowledge this and is trying to build for a better future. Just ask yourself, would you rather have Jay Feaster?
With that being said I expect anyone other than Joe Thornton, Antti Niemi and Logan Couture to be on the market. Not necessarily actively shopped. I just think Wilson will listen to any worthwhile offer.
The players whose names are most frequently bandied about in rumour mills include Dan Boyle and Ryane Clowe. Michal Handzus and Adam Burish also make sense as potentially moved players.
The night is always darkest before the dawn, and it appears the light of day that was the best days of Thornton and Marleau’s Sharks are nearing the sunset. As hard a pill as that may be for the Bay Area and it’s many hockey fans to accept, in a few years from now you’ll be more than glad Doug Wilson did.
You can follow J.D. Burke for more hockey commentary, stats, tweets, etc. @WeveGotTwins and find his blog at We've Got Twins