Yes you. Finger is pointed right at you buddy. You're getting traded. You're getting cut. You're going to Russia. You're going to the Devils. Or the...SHL. You're going to a different hockey team. That's right pal. Well that is if you're a former Doug Wilson/Doug Wilson Jr. golden boy. I'm assuming you are and that's why you're here. So let's begin. Below is just a general list of who is no longer a Shark as of now from the 2013-2020 drafts:
We start with the first few weeks Mike Grier comes to San Jose.
Who Got Grier'd: Summer 2022
Doug Wilson Jr. - Let go immediately after the draft. Reasons? Well there is definitely a discussion that DWJr. was not the draft wonder we had initially hoped he was. Many of his draft picks have not panned out. Many of his fascinations with specific prospects have frankly been really underbaked ideas. Hamaliuk, Ibragimov, Spitserov, McCue, Guryev, Weatherby, Spirodonov, Merkley. But that's picking the bad from the good, as Ferraro, Norris, Karlsson, most of the 2020 picks, some of the 2021 and 2022 picks seem decent to good selections. There was a sense that DWJr. was coming into his own as a talent evaluator and draft conductor in some ways. But he's one of the first casualties in a long list of Grier-ering. Greirening. Getting Grier'd.
Brent Burns - Traded for a minimal return because Lorentz is a good fourth liner and Grier wanted a "good" fourth liner and a goalie prospect. He seemed fixated on those pieces and received a paltry 3rd round draft selection for a 50-60 point defenseman with retention. For what reason was he so fascinated by these depth pieces? Unclear.
Rudolfs Balcers - Bought out for inexplicable reasons. Sharks did next to nothing with the extra minimal cap space they gained. They get to pay Balcers next year for what reason? Unclear.
Alexander Chmelevski - Signed a KHL contract after basically being told he won't have a role on the Sharks. Why wouldn't he have a role on the Sharks after finally starting to put up points in the NHL in 2021-2022 (and now in the KHL this year as well)? Unclear.
Jonathan Dahlen - Not tendered a QO and now back in Sweden, doing decently well. He was what he was, a soft middle six winger. But how is that worse than Svechnikov, Gadjovich, et al.? Unclear.
John Leonard - Included in a trade for Luke Kunin, who is definitely a bottom six hockey player. Also gave a third for him. Makes the Burns trade essentially two bottom six mid-20 somethings and a goalie prospect. With retention.
My favorite part about the above list is just how much hype was fed into Sharks fans about those players before Grier came in and Thanos snapped them into oblivion. We heard all about how smart Chmelevski was, how Couture raved about his hockey IQ. We heard about how much fire and grit Leonard had, how good his shot was and how many goals he put up in college. How skilled Dahlen was, and how we're getting a future top six-er for basically nothing from Vancouver. How Balcers was found money, and a great pickup. Poof. Grier'd.
Who Got Grier'd In-Season 2022
Ryan Merkley - Oh boy do we remember Ryan Merkley. Sharks media, pundits, prospect folks, etc. gave us all the hope that Merkley could be a future star. Until he wasn't. Then he was gone.
Jasper Weatherby - Why was Weatherby traded? I honestly have no idea. He's just fine. Criscuolo is better, but I legitimately think he was traded because he was a DW Jr. golden boy. He had a good physique, something DWJr. raved about. 'Definitely not a scout's body Weatherby'. Something like that.
Timo Meier - I don't want to talk about it.
I'm not calling any of these moves bad by the way, I'm merely pointing out how Grier is doing a teardown of the found money, the hope, the pet-projects and the one-offs that Doug Wilson and Jr. sold us for half a decade. The frills and the bullshit.
Mike Grier is looking at a house decorated inside and out with cheap Christmas lights. Gleaming and glittering. Broken bulbs and misaligned rows of twinkle lights. You could look at the house on December 24th and think it's beautiful. The problem is it's February and the neighbors are starting to complain about it. Grier is here to hoover all those $4.99 icicle lights into a big bag, mash them up, and then trade that bag for a fourth liner named Charlie Hockey who can check.
See here is where I guess I'm getting to the real meat of my argument. I guess.
I think Doug Wilson and Doug Wilson Jr. were just spinning shit into gold in the last 3-5 years of their collective tenures here. I think there was a lot of hype, a lot of flash and very little substance. I think they tried to sell us on Timur Ibragimov (Grier'd today by the way) being a good pick because he had...grown a lot? recently? Or Hamaliuk as a good pick because of his physique and his physical play. Or remember Hatakka (Grier'd today by the way)? Boy I remember Hatakka. So much hype for the possibility of maybe a 6th defenseman one day. Maybe. If you squint.
The point being, now that Grier has taken his big old Grinch Who Stole Christmas Decoration Vacuum and pulled the cheap lights off the rotted walls of our hockey team's house, he's decided to redecorate. The problem is, instead of Christmas lights in February, he's putting up Halloween decorations in July.
He's already making the same mistakes the Wilsii did when they had unlimited power.
He's become obsessed with his own pet-projects. While DWJr. was obsessed with long-shot prospects and hyping them up to the nth degree, and Doug Wilson was obsessed with a stars and scrubs model of winning, picking up waiver fodder and swinging on Dahlens, Donskois and Melker Karlssons ad infinitum, Grier is doing much of the same.
His model hockey player? Charlie Hockey. The mid-20 something guy who can check and play defense. The Mikey Eyssimont. The Fabian Zetterlund. The Nico Sturm. The Steven Lorentz. The Luke Kunin. The Oskar Lindblom. The Svechnikov. The apparently Jordan Greenway?! Why the fuck are we in on a 3 million dollar player who has like 6 points this year? What..... Anyways. The bottom six player who will play like a bottom six player and hit some folks. Now those players all have different strengths and weaknesses sure. But we're not about subtlety right now. We're broad-stroking this.
Will it matter if our house has shitty twinkle lights in February, or Jack-o-lanterns in July? No. It won't. The foundation is cracked. The walls are full of termites. The roof is leaking. The shitter's full and we just have to keep on smelling it.