After long-time General Manager Doug Wilson stepped aside from his position for health reasons, the San Jose Sharks will head into rare territory for their organization: searching for a General Manager. The team has had just two GM’s in the last 30 years, between Dean Lombardi and since 2003, Wilson.
On tonight’s 32 Thoughts segment of Hockey Night In Canada, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek provided some insight and speculation on what the Sharks’ GM search could look like, and who could be in consideration for the position. In terms of the type of candidate they might want, Friedman believes that the organization would like a GM who is willing to be visible, who will talk to the media and fans, and who can help to expand their market.
Friedman also notes that the team might be interested in a candidate who has no history with the organization, or who might even be somewhat off the radar, as far as expected candidates go. Lastly, Friedman adds that the Sharks may want to not only hire a GM, but expand their front office altogether, increasing the amount of thoughts and ideas within the organization from what they previously had.
While it is curious to potentially change the dynamic of a front office after an incredibly long and successful run by one GM, the Sharks have struggled amid what appears to be a rebuild these past few seasons, and a refreshed change of thought and opinion could help the organization transition to a new group on the ice. As mentioned by Friedman on the 32 Thoughts podcast earlier, the Sharks organization is not one to be keen on a true rebuild, so any new front office with refreshed perspective would still have to see eye to eye with ownership on the short and long-term plans for the team.
With the talk of perhaps bringing in someone a bit unknown, Jeff Marek gave a name for a possible suitor: Arizona Coyotes’ Assistant General Manager John Ferguson. Ferguson is a well-known name around the NHL and with the Sharks, having interviewed for their GM role already in 2003, when the job was given to Wilson. Since then, Ferguson has bounced around and was notably a scout for the Sharks under Wilson, who was pivotal in drafting a cornerstone player in Tomas Hertl, says Marek. Most recently, Ferguson interviewed for the open Anaheim Ducks GM position after previous Ducks GM Bob Murray resigned. However, that job went to Pat Verbeek.
Time will certainly tell how the Sharks navigate their search, and as Friedman also added, the team is comfortable taking their time in evaluating their options and making a decision. A change of pace from the front office they have had in place for nearly two decades could be what is needed to turn the team back into the perennial Stanley Cup contenders they were just a few years ago. However, moving on from a front office, and a General Manager, who have brought the team so much success will be a difficult task, and replacing a figure like Doug Wilson will be that much harder.