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.
“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?
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.