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Doug Wilson's Big Gamble
It's Paying Off Big…So far
10/11/15 - By Paul Krill -

When it became clear that Antti Niemi was not going to be returning as the Sharks top netminder, Sharks fans wondered who would be the new guy in the net. Would it be backup Alex Stalock? Some high-priced, well-known free agent? Somebody in the Sharks farm system?

Wrong on all counts. GM Doug Wilson swung a deal to bring in Kings backup Martin Jones, who recently had been traded to the Bruins. The Sharks gave up prospect Sean Kuraly and their first-round draft pick in next year's draft. Now to me, when a team is on a downward trajectory like the Sharks have been, the last thing you want to do is give up your first-round draft pick. If the Sharks continue on this trajectory, that pick could happen mighty early in the first round, leaving the Sharks out in the cold and probably jeopardizing Wilson's job.

But so, far it looks like Wilson knew what he was doing. Jones has been sterling so far, only letting in one goal against his old team on opening night and then coming home to San Jose to shut out the Ducks on Saturday. It's very early, of course, but Jones looks like he could be the real deal. In six months from now, he'll hopefully be leading us in a return to the playoffs while that draft selection we gave up occurs very late in the first round next June.

This Sharks team has the advantage of nobody expecting anything from it. The pressure's off. And with Jones in the nets, we can only be getting more optimistic about the Sharks' chances after the disappointing end to the 2013-14 season and the absence from the playoffs last season. It should be a fun ride.

….Penalty Shots…

Does the planned Joe Pavelski bobblehead giveaway on Fan Appreciation Day next April effectively serve as a one-year no-trade clause for him? How could they trade him when they have these thousands of bobbleheads to give away? (Maybe he already has such a clause. I don't know the nuances of his contract.)…I'm a bit at a loss to how the franchise, which began play in October 1991, can begin celebrating a "25th anniversary season" this month in 2015, particularly when the Sharks did not play a game at all during the canceled 2004-05 season…

The league-ordered tightened security outside the arena, which has had people standing on very long lines waiting to get in to the building, is going to serve as another obstacle the Sharks have to overcome to get fans back into the rink on a regular basis. It certainly has to have some fans contemplating just staying home rather than dealing with this hassle.

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