SAN JOSE — Sharks president Jonathan Becher joked after Doug Wilson announced he was stepping down as the team’s general manager that his phone was already buzzing with people reaching out to the job offer.
The Sharks are set to undertake their first general manager search in nearly two decades after Wilson, who was on sick leave, announced Thursday that he was parting ways with the organization to focus on his well-being. be.
Wilson, 64, had been absent from the team since late November for undisclosed health reasons.
Becher, interim general manager Joe Will and owner Hasso Plattner will lead the search committee. At this time, the team is looking for an outside replacement, so it looks like potential inside candidates for the full-time position like Will, Sharks director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr. and scout Ned Colletti will not necessarily be considered right away.
“One of the reasons we look outside is that we’ll get new ideas, we’ll hear new things,” Becher said. “We’re not necessarily going to do things exactly the same way. By definition, a new CEO will have new ideas.
The Sharks don’t have a specific timeline in mind for a hire, so they feel they won’t necessarily need to have someone in place before the NHL Draft on July 7-8 or when the free arbitrator will come into effect the following week.
“We’ll see where it leads,” Will said. “But I have no doubt that there will be very good candidates. At that time we will sift through that and who is really best suited for our needs here in San Jose.
The Sharks will miss the playoffs for the third straight year, but feel they can be in a more competitive position next season.
“At the end of the day the general manager is the general manager, they have the ability to do what they need to do for the club,” Will said. “But that said, the (hiring) decision will be based on alignment with the organization’s core philosophies.”
Some potential candidates (in alphabetical order):
SEAN BURKE: Burke, 55, a scout and goaltending manager for the Montreal Canadiens, was recently interviewed for the former general manager job at Vancouver. So he’s certainly no stranger to the process.
Burke was part of the Coyotes’ management group for six seasons, holding the titles of director of player development and assistant general manager. He also played 18 seasons in the NHL and represented Canada at the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics, and was general manager of Team Canada at the 2018 Games in PyeongChang. Maybe it’s time for him to lead an NHL franchise.
MATHIEU DARCHÉ: Darche, 45, played professional hockey for 12 seasons, including a year with the Sharks organization, but mostly in the AHL with Worcester. More relevant is his front office experience, as he is in his third season as Tampa Bay’s director of hockey operations, working alongside Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois.
Darche was a finalist for jobs in Vancouver and Chicago and is widely seen as a promising candidate in the front office world.
CHRIS MacFARLAND: He is in his seventh season as assistant general manager of the Colorado Avalanche, working as the right hand of general manager Joe Sakic.
MacFarland, 51, also spent 16 years in the hockey operations department of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Colorado’s turn from cellar dweller a few years ago to Stanley Cup contender now makes MacFarland an intriguing potential contender.
SCOTT MELLANBY: Mellanby, 55, worked with the Canadiens for nine seasons but resigned as the team’s assistant general manager after he was not promoted to general manager in November following the departure of Marc Bergevin.
Mellanby’s name has come up more than once whenever an NHL general manager job becomes available, and would certainly be a more orthodox choice for the Sharks should they go his way. Besides his front office experience, he also played 1,431 NHL games in 21 seasons.
SCOTT NICHOL: Nichol, 47, is certainly familiar to Sharks fans after playing two seasons for the team from 2009 to 2011. He has worked in the Nashville organization since 2013 as the team’s director of player development, is the general manager of the Milwaukee Admirals since 2018, and is in his first season as assistant general manager of the Predators.
ERIC TULSKY: He is in his eighth season in the front office for the Carolina Hurricanes and has a doctorate. in chemistry from UC-Berkeley. He also holds a BA in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Tulsky’s strength lies in analysis, as Carolina has been among the best teams in the NHL in terms of finding valuable players. Tulsky would be more of a prime pick for the Sharks, but he was also a candidate for the Blackhawks job, so he knows the process.
Could Tulsky’s impressive training attract the interest of Plattner and Becher, who both have their own mastery? Well, at least that might be enough to get Tulsky’s foot in the door.
KEVIN WEEKS: Weekes, 47, would be the NHL’s first black general manager if hired. He was a goaltender for 11 seasons in the NHL, but is perhaps best known to younger fans through his analyst work on NHL Network and, over the past year, ESPN. There is a lack of front office experience, but Weekes would certainly bring a fresh perspective to the Sharks organization.