Doug Wilson is known for not tipping his hand.
Unlike other general managers who held their pre-Draft availability this week, Wilson declined to publicly name any San Jose Sharks unrestricted or restricted free agents that he’s allowing to walk when free agency begins next Friday.
Of course, for the veteran Sharks GM, that’s par for the course.
In short, we’re not getting clarity on the status of Sharks free agents Aaron Dell, Stefan Noesen, Melker Karlsson, Kevin Labanc, Antti Suomela, Jeremy Roy, you name it, at least not directly from Wilson.
That said, Wilson spelled out what he’s looking for in net next year (and no, he’s not buying out Martin Jones).
“Ideally — and it depends on what the cost is, the acquisition cost — is getting a guy who’s been a number-one, that’s a veteran, who wants to come in and compete for a spot,” Wilson revealed.
This is in line with reports from the past month that have tied the San Jose Sharks to starting-caliber netminders Jake Allen, Darcy Kuemper, Devan Dubnyk, Braden Holtby, and James Reimer. For what it’s worth, Allen, Kuemper, Dubnyk, and Reimer have similar contracts — one to two years left, 3.4 million to 4.5 million per. Holtby is a UFA.
A likely shortened and condensed 2020-21 campaign is a factor here too.
“Having two goaltenders, especially right now during this time, that can run with it for a while if needed [is important],” Wilson observed.
Wilson also declared his 2020 draft picks not in play for an established goaltender.
“You never say never. But the quality of this draft really dictates a lot of our decisions. If I’m looking to acquire, for example a goaltender, I would prefer not to have to use picks from this year,” Wilson said. “Would I listen to [an offer]? Absolutely. But this is a pretty good draft for what we’re looking for. Those picks are valued. Our first-round pick next year is valued. Somebody would have to knock my socks off to make me move around on that.”
Truth or posturing? We’ll see. It’s interesting that Wilson went out of his way to give “goaltender” as an example here, to a general question on if the team’s higher picks this year were in play.
The San Jose Sharks will pick 31st (from Tampa Bay), 34th, 56th (from Colorado via Washington), 126th (from Ottawa), 127th, 201st (from Pittsburgh), 210th (from Washington) in the 2020 Draft. That’s one first-round pick, two second-round picks, two fifth-round picks, and two seventh-round picks.
Regardless of who Wilson chooses to pair with Jones, new San Jose Sharks goaltending coach Evgeni Nabokov will have a big say in the decision.
“We’ve talked about exploring the goaltender market. I’ve had Nabby and our staff extremely focused in on that, what would be the right fit for our group,” Wilson said. “I use Nabby a lot. He’s worked his tail off the last little while, evaluating the guys that have been No. 1’s.”
Even if Wilson won’t say it, does any of this sound like Dell?
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