When is a Rebuild not a Rebuild?

7/10 update:  GM Doug Wilson on not lowering expectations during “rebuild”.

Last summer, Sharks GM Doug Wilson categorized the off season changes as a “refresh” or “reset”.

The sum of changes were 10 NHL contracted players traded, 2 NHL contracted players let go, 7 players drafted,  18 NHL contracted players re-signed, plus 6 prospects signed to ELS deals and one to non-ELS deal.

This season he’s calling it a “rebuild.”

But is it really?


verb \(ˌ)rē-ˈbild\

: to build (something) again after it has been damaged or destroyed

: to make important improvements or changes in (something)

One could define the “damage” that has been done to emotions, egos and reputations after the inability of the Sharks to shake off the “playoff choker” label by losing a playoff series after being up 3-0.

But many pundits are questioning the Sharks “rebuild.”  Some questioning if the Sharks are having a nervous breakdown.  Others incredulous that a team that got 111 points in the regular season is “rebuilding.” However, even the betting sites are giving the Sharks a good chance to win the Cup next season (7th favorite).

Perhaps they’re (partially) right?

If you look at the team’s contracts, you’ll see NINE players with No Trade Clauses (NTCs) or No Movement Clauses (NMCs).  (That’s 8 once Havlat is excluded.)  Perhaps this “rebuild” is to weed out some of those players with NTCs by having them agree to a trade?

Well, Marleau and Thornton have been mentioned in trade rumors, but neither player seems willing to waive to move.  (And there are three players, other than Havlat, that have a real chance of being compliance bought out.)

Thus far (6/25), two players/rights have been traded (plus Havlat’s hanging future), three pending RFA players defected to Europe (whose rights might be retained by team if issued QOs), one prospect returned to draft, three NHL contracted players signed to extensions, three undrafted players signed to entry level deals. There are nine (other) pending RFAs, six pending UFAs, and two graduating college players that need a deal (or become UFAs). (And for completeness regarding the Sharks collegiate prospects… 3 players completing junior year, 2 completed sophomore year, 3 completed freshman year; 1 heading to college in the fall.)

The Sharks have seven picks for tomorrow’s draft. But that could increase with some potential trades.

Thus, we’ll have to wait to see what the summer brings and how much change there will be to the roster and team, to better categorize this as a rebuilding team or not.