Wilson made no deals before Wednesday’s deadline in a sign that he believes that the recent return of some key injured players will provide enough of a boost for the Sharks headed down the stretch run of the season.
“We think this group has certainly played at the level we wanted to,” Wilson said. “We weren’t going to sacrifice things just to make a change to look like we did something.”
This marks the first time since Wilson became general manager in May 2003 that he did not make a trade in the month leading up to the deadline. The lack of movement before the trade deadline was in stark contrast to last season, when Wilson was busy in his effort to “reset and refresh” the team.
The Sharks dealt forwards Ryane Clowe and Michal Handzus and defenseman Douglas Murray leading up to the deadline last season and acquired forward Raffi Torres and defenseman Scott Hannan as part of an effort to become a faster team.
Those moves contributed to a strong finish to the regular season and a playoff run that ended with a Game 7 loss in Los Angeles in the second round. That style carried over to this season as San Jose is in second place in the Pacific Division with 85 points.
“I’m glad we get to have another kick at the can, so to speak,” defenseman Dan Boyle said. “We did some good things at the end of last year, and we brought up some good kids this year. I’m definitely happy with our locker room and I’m glad that people upstairs and people behind the bench believe in us, also.”
The Sharks have gotten some key injured players back in recent weeks with Adam Burish making his season debut just before the Olympic break after being sidelined by a back injury, and forwards Torres, Logan Couture and Matt Nieto coming back from injuries after the break.
Torres, who tore his ACL in the preseason, has three goals and one assist in three games and has once again provided a needed spark.
Couture has also scored three goals since his return after the Olympic break as the Sharks are getting back the scoring depth that was missing during a stretch in January and February.
“With Raffi and Burr and Logan coming back, those are probably our trade deadline acquisitions,” captain Joe Thornton said. “It’s nice that everybody stays around.”
Defenseman Brad Stuart and rookie forward Tomas Hertl are still sidelined. Stuart is expected back before the end of the season from an upper-body injury, while Hertl’s return date is undetermined after he underwent knee surgery following a hit in December.