The San Jose Sharks were overly optimistic if they thought the mid-level talent brought in over the offseason would transcend into a Stanley Cup Finals team.
Obviously, there’s no way ownership would suggest that getting to the finals was the plan. Great coaching brings good teams to the finals, and coach Todd McLellan has done great work in the past. But this year wasn’t his year.
Logan Couture didn’t have the season most anticipated, but still improved in his second full year. But he’s part of the plan for the Sharks’ future.
In five years Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle will be minimalist in the production of the Sharks, if they’re still around.
And that’s where the questions will lie, in San Jose’s product on the ice, not bench boss McLelland or general manager Doug Wilson.
Because Wilson’s involvement with the Sharks’ ownership group of about 11, and being the most knowledgeable hockey expert on the board, the others in the ownership group will keep Wilson on, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
“This much, we know: There are 11 people in the Sharks’ ownership group. The general feeling is that two of the 11 owners — venture capitalist Kevin Compton and former VeriSign CEO Stratton Sclavos — have louder voices than the others. Compton is seen most often around the rink. Sclavos was the driving force in a layoff-strewn downsizing of Sharks business-side personnel last summer.
However, while Compton and Sclavos are presumably brilliant businessmen, neither man has a hockey background. Wilson has been their No. 1 tutor in the sport.”
With that, Wilson appears to be safe, and while Wilson is safe, so is McLelland. The two are inseparable.
The irony of the series loss to St. Louis is that one of the reasons the Blues were successful because they did just what San Jose needs to do — scrap the team and start over.
That’s what the Blues did in 2004, missing the playoffs five of the next six seasons, the Mercury points out. But financial troubles resulted when the struggling team couldn’t generate wins.
It’s a long road back from the brink, but perhaps now is the time to sell high for a more consistent team later.