San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson probably didn’t think much about including a first-round pick to Ottawa when the team traded for defenseman Erik Karlsson back in September of 2018. After all, the Sharks have been picking in the back-third of the draft for years with the exception of 2015 when the team picked ninth overall, grabbing Timo Meier.
Unfortunately, Wilson is watching a potential disaster at hand as the Sharks find themselves with the sixth-worst record in the NHL with little hope that San Jose will vault themselves in any sort of playoff contention in the second half of the season. Instead, the Ottawa Senators could find themselves with two high-quality lottery picks in what is considered to be a deep 2020 draft.
With the Sharks struggles offensively and need for more young talent that they don’t have from years of trading off their picks or top prospects, Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch writes that Wilson is “embarrassed” that he traded that first-round pick and is now looking to acquire another now that they don’t have one. However, that could be an issue since the team’s top pending unrestricted free agents aren’t likely to bring in a first-rounder between Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Melker Karlsson, Brenden Dillon, Stefan Noesen, Tim Heed, Radim Simek and goalie Aaron Dell.
With a “For Sale” sign on the door, Garrioch wonders if Wilson will have to make some major changes to fix the team, which would mean dipping into their core. The team could be forced to consider trading Meier, Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns, which would shake up the squad significantly. Unfortunately for the Sharks, Wilson now has an aging roster with major commitments to Evander Kane (five more years at $7MM AAV), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (six more years at $7MM AAV), Burns, (five more years at $8MM AAV), Karlsson (seven more years at $11.5MM AAV) and goaltender Martin Jones (four more years at $5.75MM AAV).
With few young players on the horizon, the Sharks may be in quite a bit of trouble and could be forced to reverse course and start a rebuild sooner rather than later unless the team can turn things around quickly.