Can the San Jose Sharks learn from the Philadelphia Flyers’ rebuild?
In March, Danny Briere took over as Flyers GM.
He said immediately, about a team that was about to be a third straight season out of the playoffs, “I don’t think this is a quick fix. That’s my belief and that’s why I’m not afraid to use the word rebuild.
“Rebuild doesn’t mean fire sale, and there’s a big difference between the two.”
Sharks GM Mike Grier, on the other hand, was not as forthcoming after he traded Timo Meier in February, “I still don’t think it’s a full-on rebuild. People always kind of want to put a label on it.”
The San Jose Sharks are four years and running out of the post-season.
On the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast, new Philadelphia Flyers assistant general manager and ex-San Jose Sharks great Alyn McCauley talked about the merits of being transparent with your fanbase.
He wasn’t criticizing the Sharks, by the way, just sharing his take about Philadelphia’s new process.
“I think that the more you’re included, the more you’re kept up to speed, the more willing you are to be accepting of where the team is at. Okay, this makes sense. I can see where the end goal is,” McCauley offered. “Being transparent takes some of the guesswork out, and maybe some of the hostility or anger about where we’re at.”
Grier is right, the Sharks aren’t in a “full-on” rebuild, even after trading reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson. They still have Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, and don’t seem particularly inclined to move them. But that’s just semantics.
There’s no doubt that the San Jose Sharks are in a rebuild, anyone can see that, and being honest with the fans won’t hurt. It’s not as if the fans were coming anyway, even without the utterance of the dreaded “R” word: San Jose was the only NHL franchise to play less than 80 percent capacity at home last year.
Rebuild is a label, sure. But as McCauley suggested, uttering it shows a trust in your fanbase.
For what it’s worth, there’s no doubt that Grier knows where the Sharks are at. Every major move, from trading expensive stars Meier and Karlsson, to the emphasis on short-term contracts with veterans, indicates that. For all we know, it could be a word that ownership is resistant to using.
“I think the fans here are knowledgeable enough to kind of realize what we’re doing here, that we were lucky to have such a long, long run of sustained success and playoff success and regular season success. At some point, you got to kind of pay the price for all that,” Grier acknowledged after dealing Karlsson. “That’s where we are in a cycle as a franchise.”
See the full McCauley interview here, he talks about his underrated San Jose Sharks career, what led to Philadelphia’s rebuild, and drafting Matvei Michkov:
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.