After news broke yesterday that the San Jose Sharks would be hiring Mike Grier as their next general manager, the official news came today from the club. Grier himself announced the historic hire in a short video for fans:
Really excited to get to work and be back in the Bay area. I know there have been lots of ups and downs but I’m ready to work hard, get at it, and get this thing back on the tracks. We’re going to start winning some games in the Shark Tank and get it going again. See you soon.
Grier, who played three seasons for the Sharks during his long playing career, is the first Black general manager in NHL history. He isn’t the first Grier to hold a sports executive position like this though. His brother, Chris Grier, is currently the general manager of the Miami Dolphins, while his father Bobby Grier worked for years with the New England Patriots in various roles.
Over a career that spanned 1,060 regular season games, Grier registered 162 goals and 383 points, while receiving Selke Trophy votes on five different occasions. The two-way winger retired in 2011 and a few years later was working for the Chicago Blackhawks as a scout, while also coaching at the high school level. In 2018 he was named an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils, and last season he served as a hockey operations coordinator for the New York Rangers.
Though his front office resume isn’t that long, Grier’s name has been floated in searches for the last few years as his profile as a future general manager grew. Chris Drury, who brought Grier into the Rangers, gave a strong endorsement to Sharks’ president Jonathan Becher during the search, according to Corey Masisak of The Athletic. He’ll now take over a franchise that has had just one full-time GM in nearly two decades. Doug Wilson, who led the team for the past 19 seasons, stepped away to focus on his health, leaving Joe Will there on an interim basis.
Some would also say he’s coming into quite a mess, given the Sharks’ lack of recent success and huge, long-term contracts on the books. Five players carry at least a $7MM cap hit for the club and only one of them (the recently-extended Tomas Hertl) is under the age of 32. Timo Meier is heading into the final year of his current deal and will need a $10MM qualifying offer to be retained as an RFA next summer, and the team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2019.
There are other changes to the front office coming, according to Becher, and one would expect many to the roster and coaching staff as well. Just a few days ago the team fired head coach Bob Boughner, giving Grier “full autonomy” to make the staff. David Quinn, who has a connection to Grier through their shared alma mater of Boston University, has been floated in the early stages as a potential candidate.
The roster though will be more difficult to rearrange. Eight different players hold some sort of trade protection in their contracts, including basically all of the expensive ones. The organization is also dealing with the uncertainty surrounding Evander Kane’s grievance, which is still not scheduled for another hearing and could take quite a bit of time to resolve.
Grier will have his work cut out for him as he moves into this new position, starting with the team’s first-round pick later this week. The Sharks are scheduled to select 11th overall.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images