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Is Sharks GM Job “One of the Least Appealing”?

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Credit: Martin Gillet (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Elliotte Friedman reported earlier today that Ray Whitney and Mike Grier were among three finalists for San Jose Sharks general manager.

REPORT: Whitney, Grier “Probably” Sharks GM Finalists

It sounds like we could be close to an announcement.

Jason Gregor of The Daily Faceoff said yesterday on the DFO Rundown Podcast that the Sharks could reveal their new GM “later this week.”

For what it’s worth, local media in San Jose are scheduled to talk to interim GM Joe Will, assistant general manager Tim Burke, and director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr. this Friday afternoon about the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft. We’ll see if anything changes with that media availability.

Whoever the new GM is, he or she will be walking into a challenging situation. The San Jose Sharks are three years and running out of the playoffs, they’re close to capped out and saddled with many long-term veteran contracts, and their prospects pool, by and large, isn’t considered elite. And despite all this, their owner wants to win now.

“I think it makes it one of the least appealing GM jobs out there,” Gregor’s co-host Frank Seravalli offered. “I’ve talked to some people who have interviewed, they say [owner Hasso Plattner is] delusional. He wants this team to be competitive. There’s no retool, no rebuild.

“Right from the hop, it’s how quickly can we make it back to the playoffs right now? What moves can you make this summer to get us there?

“That’s actually what scared a bunch of people off from the position.”

San Jose Hockey Now mentioned last Friday that Plattner is very much a part of the GM search. I’ve heard that the 78-year-old Plattner, in part because of his advanced age, is the driving force behind the Sharks organization’s unwillingness to rebuild.

SOURCE: Sharks Down to 3 GM Finalists, International Candidate Among Them? (+)

The San Jose Sharks GM search committee is comprised of Plattner, Will, and president Jonathan Becher.

It’s worth noting that while the Sharks organization isn’t a move away from the Stanley Cup, it’s also one of just 32 NHL GM jobs, and at the moment, it’s the only GM vacancy this summer.

It’s only natural that there would be GM candidates who believe that a rebuild is the only way for the Sharks to go – and it’s been clear from the beginning that the Sharks don’t want to rebuild – but there are hockey people who don’t necessarily think a rebuild is the way to go either.

Point is, the San Jose Sharks GM job isn’t for everybody, I’m sure there are candidates who have declined interviews because of the franchise’s direction, but big picture, it’s an appealing job. The least appealing NHL GM job is still plenty attractive to many talented hockey people.

San Jose is hoping one of these hockey minds can take what I think is the less likely path to success – that’s staying the course – and turn the Sharks back to contenders. I wouldn’t bet on it, but stranger things have happened.

Anyway, it’s not my money.

“Their owner will spend anything possible, he’s not a cheap owner,” Gregor noted.

There are a lot worse things for a GM to have than an owner who will spend what it takes to win.

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david barnard

Cali team with a Euro owner, how could they be anything other than “delusional”? you gotta luv them in a goofy kind of way.

Darren

Some teams can have a fairly quick turnaround in terms of retooling on the fly, but it’s really challenging considering what SJ has lost in recent years that they are not close to regaining. They never replaced the void left by what Pavelski contributed..still haven’t in many ways. They lost Thornton to injury in his last good years. Marleau aged out. Burns, while still an asset, is not what he was. Vlasic declined markedly. Kane didn’t work out. That is a lot of critical pieces to replace, if it’s even possible. They certainly aren’t going to replace Thornton and Marleau… Read more »

Zeke

I’m not saying this is the case, but I will wonder out loud. Hasso is 78 and close to a decade ago, he said he expected the Sharks would win a Cup within a decade. I don’t know his health or his mindset, but he’s pretty much said owing an NHL team is mostly about winning and he was OK losing money (just not too much). At 78, maybe he sees a finish line coming (as an owner) and he’s not willing to wait the 7-12 years it takes for a rebuild to turn into a real shot at a… Read more »

Gary Caldwell

Thanks for the link, Sheng. Good article by Zeke.

San Jose Sharks management has essentially committed to mediocrity.

The middle is death. Not good enough to compete for the Cup, and not bad enough to get high draft picks.

Zeke

yup

Zeke

Sharks have always described their major decision processes as collaborative among the executive group. If it was, perhaps this is less true now? Something feels amiss in all this.

Scott

there’s definitely a lot of negatives coming to the Sharks, but it’s a GM position. you can get some experience. Plus, if you get the right “mind” you can turn this around.

matthias893

The butts in seats aspect of the Sharks situation should really be brought up whenever an out of town analyst talks about the Sharks direction. A rebuild might be best on paper, but reality is more nuanced. They need the revenue from ticket sales, and even a 1st round playoff appearance changes the narrative of a team. If Bordeleau and Eklund come in and play even close to expectations they will sell a lot of sweaters…. but probably only in the context of a team that is actually competing for something… well something other than the #1 OA draft pick… Read more »

Zeke

Attendance IS an issue. But being honest with the fan base is also an issue. They’ll lose a lot more fans over the years if they are middle of the road competitive. After all, they compete for eyeballs vs the Warriors and over the next few years, it’ll be awfully hard to fill the place on any night where the option is watching Steph play. As for the Sharks finances, Hasso has always been willing to lose money, just not more than necessary. Unfortunately, Hasso is going to spend a lot of $$ and not get much return on it.… Read more »

tedb

Owners can always be problematic, just like all bosses. But Wilson loved his gold chains and fancy lifestyle more than he wanted to win. Otherwise, he’d have stood up to the owner and done so publicly when private conversations failed. Wilson was a wimp who bilked fans for his beloved master and his bountiful paycheck. If he was so great as a GM, why would he not risk losing his job to fight for a Cup winning Shark’s team. So, he’s spineless and rich. And Shark’s fans are left with nothing. No matter who the new GM is, Plattner will… Read more »

BrianJ

Neither Whitney or Grier makes sense as the new General Manager, based on their resume. Grier serves as a hockey operations advisor from May 2021 for the New York Rangers and Whitney served as a scout for three years and has a job at the league office. There are a few Assistant General Managers who played a major role in the success of their team, who may want the job. Perhaps the Sharks should offer the job to Chris MacFarland the Assistant General Manager of the Colorado Avalanche. He has a very good reputation in the NHL for his financial… Read more »

Jim

Sharks need to draft well, but what is the free agent draw in SJ versus Vegas, LA, Florida, etc?

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