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Doug Wilson -- Super GM
Key moves made Sharks season
4/26/06 - By Steve Flores

As all San Jose Shark's fans revel in the current dogged play of the franchise I think we should take a moment to thank the maker - one Doug Wilson. Wilson, he of the General Manager title for the Bay Area's hockey club, has re-shaped the current team into one of speed and size. He has taken the first steps into turning this team into a perennial contender in the NHL.

Wilson, of course, made that once in a lifetime trade that all GM's hope to pull the trigger on at least once in their career when he brought in Joe Thornton from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau. As we all know the trade has given the Sharks a natural leader on and off the ice. It has led to the team's first ever overall scoring champion, Goal scoring title-ist and an assist champion. The team has excelled at incredible heights since his arrival while his peer, Mike O'Connell has since been relieved of his duties as GM of the Bruins.

We could go on and on lauding Wilson with praise for being able to pull the coup of the decade into possible years of success for the Sharks but that has all been well covered by all forms of media both here in the Bay as well as abroad.

I would like to focus more on 'the other trade'.

The trade that Wilson made that gets very little headlines is the one deal that he did cut just before the deadline - the bringing in of Ville Nieminen.

Prior to the trade deadline the Sharks were definitely playing well, yet they were missing a certain element. The team was, at times, bullied a bit and lacking a player that personified grit, determination and agitation.

Teams that excel always seem to have at least one truly irritating force on their team. Nieminen is surely that force. Acquired for a mere third-round pick in the upcoming draft Nieminen has become the hard-working gnat that Wilson had hoped for.

Almost prophetically Wilson hit the nail on the head after he made the deal.

"He brings grit and gets very involved in games," Doug Wilson said. "He'll fit in very good with this team. Sometimes you need some type of spark to get yourself going."

Nieminen has provided an aspect to the games not seen since the exit of one Bryan Marchment, but with more skill and scoring ability. Nieminen gets under your skin and is continually a presence where one is needed on the ice.

At the time of the trade I don't think most folks gave the deal much of a thought, but one thing is for sure Wilson deserves more credit than he has been given for working that small bit of magic.

According to a lot of hockey publications Wilson is not the favorite for Executive of the Year which I find to be almost comical.

The man is a quality person who takes his job seriously. He works within the framework of what the team's management allows for him and he has built a team that is exciting, entertaining and capable of being dominant on a given night. Just ask Nashville.

Whether they win the Stanley Cup this year or not is icing as this team is very, very young. Doesn't really matter in the long haul as it seems Wilson is more than capable of tinkering and twisting the roster until one day he will bring that old cup to the Bay Area.

A raised glass to this writer's GM of the Year.

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