Mike Greer said his priorities after being named general manager of the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday will be determined by the NHL calendar.
After his introductory press conference, Greer was headed to Montreal for the 2022 NHL Top Draft at the Bell Center on Thursday (the Sharks took 11th place) and Friday. Then comes the start of the free agency on July 13th.
He also needs to appoint a coach after Friday’s firing of Bob Bogner (along with his assistants John Madden and John McClain and his assistant, Video Dan Darrow) and filling his hockey operations crew.
But the guiding principle will be improvement after San Jose (32-37-13) failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third consecutive season, the longest drought in its history.
“I think we can improve in every aspect, to be honest with you,” Greer said. “There are some pieces on the list that we like, that we’d like to build on. But I think, in general, there’s not one place in particular that I think needs work. Draft is #1, and then we have free agency coming in. We’ll have to look in That, and Joe and I really got into it a bit. Then a development camp and a coach.”
Video: Mike Greer becomes Sharks’ new General Manager
Grier declined to talk about specific players, but like Sharks owner Hasso Plattner, team boss Jonathan Beecher and assistant general manager Joe Weil said after Doug Wilson stepped down as GM after 19 seasons on April 7, he said he didn’t think the Sharks needed to. Start over and do a complete rebuild.
But Greer acknowledged there are some hurdles to overcome, including trying to create flexibility given the $82.5 million salary cap next season. Up to eight players can become restricted free agents, including defender Mario Ferraro and the attackers John Leonard And the Jonathan Dahlin.
“We’re not looking to tear this down, like the Arizona[Coyotes]or some teams have done in the past,” Greer said. “Yes, there are some challenges with the (NHL) salary cap, but I think the majority of the league deals with the fixed value cap and they have [same] the case. So for us, not looking forward to rebuilding…there are a lot of ‘R’ words that you can use.
“For us, there might be some bumps in the road ahead and we might have to step back a little bit to move forward, but we’ll try to improve and try to improve the list.”
A former striker who played 14 seasons in the NHL with Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Sharks and Buffalo Sabers before retiring in 2011, this season Grier worked as a consultant for hockey operations for the New York Rangers. The 47-year-old was also a Scout for the Chicago Blackhawks from 2014-2018 and an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils for two seasons (2018-2020).
Therefore, Jarir is well prepared for the job. But with enlistment and free agency, he will rely on Will, who has been at GM since Wilson went on medical leave on November 26, and on a shark survey crew.
“I think Joe has done an excellent job with both our amateur and professional scouts, getting them on assignment, and these guys have been busy with work,” Greer said. “So my job now is to go out there and listen to what they have to say and maybe make some suggestions here or there…Then, we’ve got a free agency coming in. We’ll have to look into that. I think Joe and I are really getting into that a little bit.”
Greer said he and Will have already drawn up a list of potential trained candidates and plan to conduct a thorough search, but this may take a back seat at first.
“We have to get into recruitment and free agency,” Greer said. “Those things are a priority so we can get the players we like or try to get the players we want and start building our potential pool back up. So, I don’t have a coach schedule, but it’s definitely something, maybe starting today. We have the list together. We’ll start in communicating and trying to make connections with the people we would like to talk to.”