I ran into San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson the other day. No, I do not personally know him. I am not quite that far along in my journalistic career, as of yet. However, I do work at the country club that he is a member, but rarely appears at. So, yes, we're best friends.
Of course, I tried to sneak several peaks at him.
Can you blame me or anyone with a love for the Sharks?
This was the mastermind behind the Sharks' success year in and year out. He was the man with the power to do what he pleased with this team, success or failure.
It was also his busiest time of the year, 2011 NHL free agency.
He and his family were eating lunch in the restaurant, and as I walked past his table for the third time in the previous 20 minutes, I could not help but wonder if this man had another trade up his sleeve.
What did this man know as of this moment that the public did not?
Sure enough, two hours later, my phone started buzzing.
"Heatley Shipped to Minnesota."
The man with the power in San Jose had struck again.
The occasional fan can complain about the fact that the Sharks have traded away a homegrown talent and a past 50-goal scorer in the matter of a week. However, in the grand scheme of things, San Jose is a better team today than they were a week or so ago.
In two separate deals, the Sharks traded away Devin Setoguchi and Heatley for All-Star defenceman Brent Burns and All-Star winger Martin Havlat.
There are two reasons why Setoguchi and Heatley had to go.
With the amount of heavy scoring talent on this Sharks team, Setoguchi was never able to fully obtain his scoring potential, and he never was with players like Thornton, Pavelski and Marleau on the team. With the Wild, at least he will be able to spread his wings, so to speak.
In exchange, San Jose acquires the defensive version of much the same scenario in Burns. A player with extreme potential at a position where the Sharks needed it most.
As for Heatley, he never lived up to the potential that all of San Jose envisioned.
He came aboard as the player that was set to put them over the hump for the Stanley Cup, and he left after a year in which he scored just 26 goals—a career low.
Does Wilson have another trick up his sleeve?
In the Heatley/Havlat deal, Heatley is a $7.5 million cap hit and Havlat is a $5 million cap hit.
San Jose can still make more moves this offseason, such as acquiring a veteran forward.
Also, they can now fiddle with newly acquired Burns' contract, as he becomes an unrestricted free agent after next season.
The Sharks' offseason facelift continues.
Whether or not these moves will bring success to San Jose is something we will find out in October.
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