Where Sharks’ general manager search stands with 2021-22 season ending

Where Sharks’ GM search stands with season coming to an end originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Sharks will wrap up the 2021-22 NHL season this week but the front office has already gotten a head start on their No. 1 offseason priority: Finding a new general manager.

Sharks president Jonathan Becher and interim general manager Joe Will be heading the search after Doug Wilson stepped down as San Jose GM on April 7 for health reasons.

Wilson had held the position for 19 years and is a franchise icon, so his successor has big shoes to fill.

Becher spoke to NBC Sports California’s Jim Kozimor earlier this week to provide an update on where the GM search stands.

“Well, if this were a hockey game, we’re still in the first [period], beyond the first shift,” Becher told Kozimor. “We’ve created what we call a few personas, which is categories of the kind of person we’re looking for. There are four or five different categories, from a more experienced GM to an up-and-comer to a wild-card, somebody who may not explain it all.

“Then we’ve created the long list. We’ve gone through more than 50 people, we’ve started to evaluate what they look like on paper. We’ve started to narrow that down and we’re at the point where we ‘I’ll do maybe two or three, maybe even four waves of interviews. First wave is probably going to start a week or so from now.’

On April 22, TSN Insider Pierre LeBrun reported that the Sharks already had whittled the list of candidates down from 50.

“They finally started reaching out to teams this week, I’m told,” LeBrun said. “They started with a list of 50 names and then they went to 25. They’re going to, I think, interview over the phone, within the next week or so, five or six candidates and then perhaps that will move to in- person interviews in the month of May. They’re going to take their time. They are OK with the current front office to run the draft.

Becher said the team is keeping an open mind to the type of candidates they consider.

“There is definitely no previous general manager experience required,” Becher told Kozimor. We have some [candidates] with it, some without. They’ve got to be willing to be here in the Bay Area. They have to recognize there aren’t just the general manager of the Sharks, but they are part of the face of the franchise as well. Very community oriented.”

San Jose Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng confirmed on April 23 that former longtime NHL player and current TV analyst Kevin Weekes is a candidate for the Sharks’ GM opening.

When pressed about the possibility of looking outside the NHL and potentially hiring a candidate from Europe, Becher confirmed the search is going beyond the other 29 teams in the league.

“We are definitely being creative in how we are doing this search,” Becher told Kozimor. “We’re not limiting it to the NHL. We’re not necessarily limiting it to the hockey, although we’ll end up in hockey.”

RELATED: Takeaways from Doug Wilson stepping down as Sharks’ GM

The Sharks enter the final two games of the regular season with a 32-36-12 record and will miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season. Following their road games against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and the Seattle Kraken on Friday, San Jose can turn its attention to the general manager search, the 2022 NHL Entry Draft on July 7-8 and the start of the free agent signing period on July 13.

Becher and the Sharks aren’t going to rush to a decision on an important move for the franchise, even if it means the new GM isn’t in place by the time the draft rolls around in early July.

If Becher and Will make the right choice, they hope to have a general manager that stays in place for the next two decades.

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