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What’s the Difference Between “Reset” & “Rebuild”?



Credit: NBCS Bay Area

What’s the difference between a “reset” and a “rebuild”?

We’ve been trying to distinguish between the two terms since Doug Wilson acknowledged in early March that the San Jose Sharks were in a “reset.”

This morning, Bob Boughner clarified the difference, at least from an organizational perspective: “I think rebuild is a plan where it’s multiple years and it’s a longer process and I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. I think the difference is a reset is a quicker process to get to where you want to go, still trying to accomplish the same things, protecting assets, building through some drafts, and also, getting the right veterans.

“It’s just probably a difference in speed.”

That jibes with my interpretation of what Wilson meant when he said that the San Jose Sharks were in a “reset” mode.

So Sharks fans hoping for a complete teardown this off-season will probably be disappointed. A complete teardown was probably never realistic anyway, considering San Jose’s long-term commitments to Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Logan Couture, Evander Kane, and Martin Jones. A complete teardown would constitute divesting yourself of all or most of these contracts, which is great in theory, but with a hard salary cap, would come at an almost unimaginable cost, be it retaining cap hits (through trade or buyouts) or attaching a bushel of draft picks to the least appetizing contracts.

Just for example, Jones has three years left on his agreement for $5.75 million per. If another team had the cap space and was willing to take on that entire albatross – the Sharks would probably need to tack on at least two first-round picks. At least that’s what a couple NHL sources suggested. And that’s just to eat all of Jones’s deal, which is actually much smaller than the other pacts mentioned here.

Let’s put it another way: If a complete rebuild was easy, the Sharks might have gone down that road already.

Three Years in a Row?

Boughner came under some fire last night for admitting that he wasn’t surprised to see his Sharks miss the playoffs again.

GOTTA SEE IT: Boughner Tells No Lies as Sharks Miss Playoffs Again

“It’s not a surprise,” Boughner admitted. “When you look around the league at 31 teams, as of right now, I think every team that missed the bubble, last year’s playoffs, is still out. It just goes to show, you don’t flip things around in this league in six months, eight months, or 10 months. It takes time.”

Boughner isn’t wrong, but of course, the San Jose Sharks fanbase isn’t used to this: This will be just the third time in franchise history that the Sharks have missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons – and the first time in 24 years. An expansion San Jose side went home early in 1992 and 1993; shortly thereafter, they bowed out in 1996 and 1997. Since then? They were able to execute quick resets after missing out in 2003 and 2015.

But the Sharks have been the exception to the rule: From 2006 to 2019 – not counting 2020’s expanded playoff format – just 33% of the post-season teams qualified for the playoffs after missing out the previous year. That’s 73 of 224 post-season squads.

“Call it a reset or a rebuild or whatever it is, it doesn’t happen overnight,” Boughner said this morning. “You just don’t go from one season to the next and turn a switch on, and all of a sudden, you’re a different team.

“You can’t snap your fingers and think it’s going to be instant, it’s going to take a little time.”

On one hand, some teams have turned it around fast, but in general, Boughner is right.

So we’ve established that Wilson, Boughner, and company still want to turn things around quickly — that means playoffs in 2022. Question is, can they prevent the San Jose Sharks from a franchise first – missing the post-season for three straight years?

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Many get upset at DWspeak. I’m not one to try and outthink him. He truly knows more than we do.
I’m going to focus on the upcoming draft and hope we get a great young player.
Then next year, with cap space and possible moving of a high paid player, we could be back at it.


Great job as always, Sheng! My take: The Sharks already had a “reset”. Now they’re in a “refresh”. Essentially, DW, will do whatever he can to avoid a “rebuild” during his tenure. It’s all semantics used to buy time and not lose the fan base’s interest. DW, and by extension, the coaching staff, need to make this appear as positive as possible. They need to talk about having the right core in place since they don’t have a lot of easy options to change the core, as you pointed out. It’s clear though, if they want to have a packed… Read more »

david barnard

he might try to convince the season ticket holders and corpo sponsors that he has “great bones” (core), but no disrespect to the guys, none of the remaining members (sans perhaps PM in his prime) were a top shelf “core”. how many point-per-game players are on this roster, like at any time in their careers? Hertl almost made it in 2018-19, but that Hertl hasn’t showed up the last 2 seasons. Couture in the playoffs, sure, but in case anyone’s sleeping, the Sharks haven’t made the playoffs for 2 seasons. Burns and Karlsson aren’t Norris contenders anymore. DW is about… Read more »

david barnard

1 more thing i forgot, if DW’s looking for a center (and he should be) it should be 1 that can play legit 2C, not 3C. i’m talking 2-way guy here, like an “affordable” Bergeron type. maybe then they can unload Labanc and move LC to wing. we’ve got a plethora of near-ready middle and bottom 67 F’s that should be able to fill out roster spots down there.

edit: Haula plays all situations, is pending UFA, and fairly mid-priced. he’s 30. Philip Danault is another.

Last edited 1 year ago by david barnard
timorous me

The question is if he’s willing or able to actually dive into the free agent waters, unlike this past offseason. The 3C position was such an obvious hole, and even though Gambrell was surprisingly impressive for what we expected of him, I still see him as a good 4C. I’ve been about as patient as possible in hoping for a Jones turnaround (figured it didn’t hurt, considering everything, to see if that could happen this year) but we’re clearly at a point where he has to be bought out. I sometimes wonder how much better this team would be with… Read more »

The Masala Slapper

You nailed it on the goaltending. But even with an average goalie, this team still needs to stop the horrible giveaways. This starts with Burns and Karlsson but also the forward corps. Top to bottom better structure and puck management.

david barnard

with the talent level, this team would probably be a “bubble team” at best w/better consistent net-minding. let’s say DW buys Jones out and replaces him with a Reimer type. i just don’t see that moving the needle a whole lot.

The Masala Slapper

Great post. I’m also ready to move on from Meier, Labanc or both. They’re good players. Neither is playing to their ceiling. But I’m wondering if they’re gonna do it here. They got demoted by Balcers and Barabanov, for pete’s sake. Labanc had his best season on the 3rd line. I think that’s telling. I’d move him for assets. There’s plenty of middle-6 wingers in the system. Try them all out and go fish if none of it works. Meier. I feel this guy should be a superstar. Either he’s underachieving or he needs to be on a better team.… Read more »

david barnard

Timo has to want to be superstar first and foremost. that means Timo Time needs to show up on a more consistent basis. and if he’s not scoring-because let’s face reality his shot ain’t all that-he’s got to be dominating/pushing play more often then he has this season.


If they want to try and make playoffs in 2022 they need to be fired now. We need to rebuild this, the right way, if we ever want to win a Stanley Cup.


YEAH!!! This is absolutely correct. This moment in time is entirely about seeing reality for what it is. Semantics comes off as denial. Management must use the word rebuild.

david barnard

DW might be the master of quick turnaround’s, but when you don’t add better FA’s in the off season and your pipeline doesn’t have any blue chip prospects in it, you’re pretty much just BS’ing. i get he was up against the cap, so his options were limited. he’s not as up against it this off season-especially if he can unload a big contract or two. we’ll see then if he’s really committed to the “reset”.

The Masala Slapper

Two points: There is no way the Sharks can be a good team unless a) there’s adequate goaltending and b) Karlsson is elite. (a) can be fixed. But (b)? Oh, what to make of (b)? I don’t think we should be accepting that Karlsson, who’s signed to McDavid money, is already on the decline. Either it was a mistake or it wasn’t. If it was, heads must roll. If it wasn’t, then I need to see elite play consistently, and I need to see the GM/coach engineer the roster to make the best use of his talents. This is the… Read more »

[…] What’s the difference between a “reset” and a “rebuild”? We’ve been trying to distinguish between the two terms since general manager Doug Wilson acknowledged in early March that the San Jose Sharks were in a “reset.” (San Jose Hockey Now) […]


Bottom line is talent. A waiver wire pickup and a under the radar trade, has resulted in two of our more productive players. That tells we have issues. If the goalie issue is not finally addressed this off season, I don’t get it. Meier needs to go. I would give LaBanc another year to show improvement. EK65 is brutal. You can just tell by his body language and lack of true hustle, and of course his pathetic stats he has no fire. Donato showed some promise, he just gets knocked off the puck too easily. He deserves the league minimum.… Read more »

david barnard

Sharks can’t offer Donato “league minimum”. he has a mandatory QO based (multiplier 100%) off his prior year’s salary (2.15M). thus min. offer is 2.15Mx1.

Nick Rockwell

Take away Wilson’s GM tag, let him keep Director of Hockey OPs, and give Gordon the new GM tag. Firing the entire front office would drag any progress out even longer. This team lives on the margins finacially as it is. No way ownership will pay the big contract players, a new (a cheaper – get what you pay for) staff, and a fired staff.

Gary To

Always love the honest answers from Bob, thanks Sheng!

[…] San Jose Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng pointed out a few months ago, this past season marked just the third time in franchise history that the Sharks […]

[…] it’s a longer process and I don’t think that’s what’s going on here,” Bob Boughner said in May. “I think the difference is a reset is a quicker process to get to where you want to go, […]

[…] management team for the Sharks may refuse to admit they are in a full rebuild (they prefer the word ‘reset’) but their moves this offseason shouldn’t give their fans any hopes of a playoff run. As the […]

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