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Doug Wilson's failure
Inability to upgrade will prove costly
3/9/04 - by Mike Chen

Doug Wilson, your biggest test as San Jose Sharks general manager was your first trade deadline. So far your moves have been small, but solid: signing all of your players for camp, bringing in Nils Ekman, bringing back Alex Korolyuk. Even the Miika Kipprusoff deal wasn't bad. Yes, Kipper is playing ridiculously well in Calgary, but the same thing could have happened with trading Toskala or Nabokov-and everyone in San Jose remembers Kipprusoff's huge rebounds and soft goals. No one would have offered up more than the second round pick that Calgary sent to San Jose.

Leading up to the trade deadline, the Shark Sandwich grade for Doug Wilson is a solid B. Nothing spectacular, nothing bad.

But Doug, seriously, how do you explain what happened?

Marco Sturm goes down with injury. You're not going to trade the farm to replace him, but a deal for both today and tomorrow makes sense. You've got a fine crop of young defensemen available and two of the top scorers in the AHL in Brad Boyes and Miroslav Zalesak as bait.

And you come up with…Curtis Brown?

For those of you who don't know much about Brown, he's essentially an older Alyn McCauley. Good speed, good on face-offs, a good checker, and in his late 20s. Not a bad addition.

But for the cost of your top forward prospect in Brad Boyes?

Let's look at some of the other deals that have occurred. The Rangers were selling off all their parts for a prospect and a pick (see Alex Kovalev, Brian Leetch, Martin Rucinsky). 2nd liner and former 25 goal scorer Anson Carter went for a prospect. Hit-or-miss winger Val Bure went to the Stars for a middle of the road prospect. Hall of Famer and 40 year old center Ron Francis went for a fourth round pick. Steve Sullivan went for two second round picks. Heck, the oft injured and overpaid Brian Savage went to St. Louis purely on the condition that St. Louis could trade him back after the season if they were unsatisfied.

Do you see what I'm getting at here, Doug? Brad Boyes should have been the centerpiece in a blockbuster deal. He was, in fact, the main reason Dean Lombardi traded Owen Nolan, in addition to receiving Alyn McCauley and a first round pick. McCauley was considered a throw-in (as Toronto had him buried in the depth chart), and first round picks are unpredictable. But the organization-which you helped build-knew Boyes would be good. And you've given him up for a 3rd line grinder, a guy who will help out but is not a key player. He is an interchangeable part, a guy you could have picked up for a third round pick or less.

I have nothing against Curtis Brown. I'm sure he'll come in and fill out his role well. He was highly regarded coming into the league, but never passed his peak of 51 points in a season.

When I first heard that there was a three-way trade with Boston, Buffalo, and San Jose involving Jillson and Boyes, I thought, "He's done it. He's gotten his long coveted choice in Drury, or maybe got impending free agents Miroslav Satan or Brian Rolston." Why?

Because you have to give to get in this league, and Brad Boyes was valued enough to get a hefty return.

Let's not forget that Andy Delmore was thrown in by Buffalo and given to Boston for future considerations. Those future considerations better mean in roads to a future deal for injured Sergei Samsanov or a player of considerable worth. Yes, Andy Delmore was horrendous in his own zone but he was a prime power play quarterback with a blistering shot. He would have bolstered a hobbling power play unit.

Let's look at the Sharks shopping list. Top six forward. Power play help. Veteran defenseman.

No, no, and no.

Spin this all you want to the media and the fans, Doug. The numbers don't lie. The deals made by other teams don't lie. The truth is a bitter smack in the face. Was there opportunity? Plenty, from a variety of teams. Did you have the goods to pull off the right deal? Considering what other teams paid for quality forwards and defense, yes, you could have done it. And you didn't. In fact, the San Jose roster and farm system is worse off today than it was 24 hours ago.

And because of that, Doug Wilson, you get a grade of F for this year's trade deadline.

Contact Mike at blurrypulp@hotmail.com


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