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Sharks to Recognize the Legacy and Accomplishments of Doug Wilson

“Doug Wilson’s imprint on this franchise is unmistakable – on and off the ice,” said Sharks President Jonathan Becher. “As the new expansion team’s first captain in 1991, he set a standard and helped build a foundation that would allow the team to quickly morph into one of the League’s most inspiring and successful teams. As general manager, he crafted and fostered the most successful era of Sharks hockey the franchise has been seen, drafting a blueprint which allowed the Sharks to be in the upper echelon of NHL teams for victories and appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.Doug’s legacy in San Jose is forever solidified and this recognition will ensure that future Generations of Sharks fans will learn about his contributions to Sharks hockey.”

Wilson, who served as general manager of the franchise from May 13, 2003 through April 7, 2022, strategically built the Sharks into one of the National Hockey League’s elite franchises through strong drafting, shrewd trades and timely free agent signings. During his tenure of him, only the Pittsburgh Penguins (768) and Boston Bruins (762) won more regular season games than the Sharks (760), and only Boston (1,708) and Pittsburgh (1683) accumulated more standings points than the Sharks ( 1,686).

The Sharks qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs 14 times under Wilson, including in ten straight appearances (2004-2014). Between 2003-04 and 2019-20, (excluding the lockout-shortened season in 2012-13), the Sharks averaged 45.6 wins per season and 100.7 points per year under his direction.

Additionally, only Tampa Bay (34) and Pittsburgh (33) have appeared in more Stanley Cup Playoff rounds (31) than the Sharks (30) since 2003-04. Under Wilson’s guidance, the Sharks captured the Presidents’ Trophy (2009), five Pacific Division titles (2004, 2008-11), advanced to the Western Conference Finals on five occasions (2004, 2010, 2011, 2016, 2019) and made one Stanley Cup Final appearance (2016).

During his tenure, Wilson negotiated several block-buster trades to bring some of the game’s elite and most-sought after players to the Sharks organization, including Joe Thornton (2005), Dan Boyle (2008), Dany Heatley (2009), Brent Burns (2011) and Erik Karlson (2018).

At the draft table, Wilson and his staff selected an impressive list of future NHL standouts, including Milan Michalek and Joe Pavelski (2003), Devin Setoguchi and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (2005), Logan Couture, Nick Bonino and Justin Braun (2007), Charlie Coyle (2010), Thomas Hertl (2012), Timo Meier (2015), and Josh Norris and mario ferraro (2017).

Due to the team’s consistently strong regular season performance, since 2003 the Sharks hold the second-lowest average draft position among all NHL clubs (128.0), ahead of only Tampa Bay (125.9). Despite that average drafting position, which includes only five top-10 selections (Michalek/6th; Setoguchi/8th; Couture/9th; Meier/9th; Eklund/7th) and none higher than sixth overall, San Jose’s draft selections rank seventh in games played, sixth in goals, tenth in points and 13th in assists among all NHL teams.

In his 18+ seasons leading the Sharks, Wilson ascended the NHL’s all-time lists among general managers. On Jan. 26, 2017, Wilson joined an elite club, becoming only the fourth individual to play in 1,000 NHL hockey games and to serve as a general manager of an NHL club for at least 1,000 games. The only others to have accomplished the feat were Hockey Hall of Famers Bobby Clarke, Bob Gainey and Bob Pulford (since then accomplished by Bob Murray).

On Oct. 8, 2019, he served his 1,200th game as general manager and five days later, surpassed Conn Smythe (682) for 19th on the NHL’s all-time wins list. He achieved his 700th win on Jan. 4, 2020 and currently sits 14th on the all-time general manager wins list (760). Wilson ranks seventh on the NHL’s all-time list among general managers for most wins with one franchise and was one of two active NHL general managers to serve at least 1,300 games with their current NHL Club (David Poile, 1,799 with Nashville). He was the second-longest serving NHL general manager with their current team (behind Poile) and was the fourth-longest serving amongst all active NHL general managers (behind Poile, Lou Lamoriello and Ken Holland).

Wilson joined the Sharks hockey operations department as director of pro development in 1997-98 and served in that role until he was named general manager.

As a player, Wilson was acquired by the Sharks just prior to the team’s inaugural season in 1991, bringing instant credibility and respect to the young franchise. I have played two seasons for the Sharks, serving as the organization’s first captain and scoring 48 points (12 goals, 36 assists) in 86 games. He was the team’s first representative in the NHL All-Star Game (1991-92) and played in his NHL-milestone 1,000th game on Nov. 21, 1992, becoming the 77th player in League history to accomplish the feat. Additionally, he was named the Sharks nominee for the King Clancy Award twice (1992 and 1993), presented for leadership and humanitarian contributions on and off the ice.

Prior to coming to San Jose, Wilson established himself as one of the most dynamic defensemen to ever play the game with the Chicago Blackhawks. Amongst all-time NHL defensemen, Wilson ranks 12th in goals (237), 15th in points (827) and 18th in assists (590). In addition, he holds the fourth-highest single-season record for goals by a defenseman (39, in 1981-82), is tied for ninth among defensemen for most points-per-game (.81, min. 500 games), and 12th for most career shots (3,296).

In 1982, Wilson captured the James Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman and was named First Team NHL All-Star after posting 85 points (39 goals, 46 assists) in 76 games, leading all defensemen in goals. I have finished in the Top-5 in Norris Trophy voting three other times. Wilson was selected to the NHL All-Star Game eight times and named as a Second Team NHL All-Star in 1985 and 1990.

Between 1979-1991, Wilson’s 719 points for a defenseman ranked only behind fellow Hockey Hall of Famers Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque.

Wilson began his illustrious career in hockey after being selected sixth overall by the Blackhawks in the 1977 NHL Draft. The stalwart blueliner appeared in 938 NHL games with Chicago from 1977-1991, amassing 779 points (225 goals, 554 assists) with a plus-121 rating.

On the Blackhawks franchise all-time lists, Wilson ranks ninth in games played, seventh in points, fourth in assists and 15th in goals. Among Blackhawks franchise defensemen, he ranks first in goals, points, assists, points-per-game (.83, minimum 300 games), and fourth in games played.

He played in 1,024 NHL regular season games with the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks, Wilson also appeared in 95 Stanley Cup Playoff games with Chicago, scoring 80 points (19 goals, 61 assists) with a plus-11 rating and a .84 points -per-game average. He ranks first in points-per-game, second in assists and points, tied for second in goals, and seventh in games played among franchise defensemen in the postseason.

Wilson announced his retirement as a player from hockey prior to the 1993-94 season.

Internationally, Wilson represented Team Canada in the 1984 Canada Cup, capturing a Gold Medal, and at the Rendezvous ’87 against the Soviet Union.

Wilson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the 2020 class on Nov. 15, 2021. He is also a member of three regional Sports Halls of Fame; Ottawa (inducted Oct. 1998), Chicago (inducted Sept. 1999), and San Jose (inducted Nov. 2016). The Ottawa 67s also honored his stellar career by retiring his No. 7 sweater.

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