Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson returned to the Bay Area following a trip back east for the NHL Combine and NHL General Manager meetings. It was an extremely busy week for the Sharks top hockey executive, as he met with his scouting staff in preparation for the upcoming Entry Draft taking place June 22-23 in Columbus, Ohio.
Wilson and his scouts, led by Director of Scouting Tim Burke, were able to physically test and interview many of the draft’s top prospects. Wilson enjoyed his time, as the youth of the next generation are always invigorating to watch.
“It’s the start of the next year and it shows the tremendous work of our scouts all season,” said Wilson.
There are some downsides to the event, as every potential player has advisors or agents prepping them for the occasion.
“Players can be a little too schooled, but we get some questions across they haven’t been prepared for,” said Wilson.
The Sharks had their entire staff in tow, to try and project out a group of 18-year-olds; not an easy task from both the physical and mental sides.
“You get a pretty good view of where they are physically,” said Wilson. “You look at their potential upside if you get them into your program. Sometimes kids are trained and mature and the upside is less.”
Given that Anaheim’s Chris Pronger was suspended during the Stanley Cup Finals for a hit to the head, the issue played a big part in the General Manager meetings.
“It’s something that needs to be addressed,” said Wilson. “Nobody wants clean hard hits eliminated, but we don’t want players taking advantage of exposed players in a predatory sort of way.”
Adjusting the rules won’t be as simple as it sounds.
“It’s not easy task to clarify, but I’m sure we’ll put something in,” said Wilson. “We have two of the best hitters in the league in McLaren and Murray and you don’t see them go after the head.”
The General Managers also have offense on their mind and will continue to monitor items such as the goaltenders equipment size and the scoring rate. Goals-per-game were down in the NHL during 2006-07 campaign.
“We knew when the rules were changed, the coaches would adjust,” said Wilson. “Still we have to make the best product on the ice and we’ll always try to produce scoring opportunities.”