MIKE GRIER IS THE NEXT SHARKS' GM
Updated: Jul 6, 2022
The San Jose Sharks officially announced the hiring of Mike Grier as the team's 5th General Manager in Franchise History on Tuesday morning.
The Sharks' announcement comes days after the team had decided it was time to move on from Bob Boughner as the head coach and 24 hours after dropping the news on Twitter that they had someone they wanted to formally introduce Sharks Territory to. Within moments following the teaser, hockey insiders reported Grier was a front runner and expected to be named the GM.
By the end of the Fourth of July holiday, Kevin Weekes tweeted out (and confirmed) that he was told that Mike Grier would become "the first Black Person in over 100 years of NHL Hockey to make history in doing so".
Mike Grier had this to say about the significance of this historic achievement:
It's something I'm extremely proud of. Since my playing days, the league itself has gotten more and more diverse. There's more Black players in the league and minorities in the league. There's more women and minorities in front office, and scouting, and coaching positions... From my standpoint, that's something I'm happy to see and excited to see. For me, my job is to do the best job I can for the San Jose Sharks organization, and if I do that, hopefully, it opens the door to give other opportunities to other minorities.
Mike Grier enters the Sharks organization during a time when team culture, locker room chemistry, and ownership expectation vs reality are reported to be at a low point in the 31 years of Sharks hockey. Grier is tasked with finding a way to improve the salary cap space situation, Evander Kane's grievance, and finding a new head coach in San Jose. But first, Grier will participate in the NHL Entry Draft just days after his hire date.
Grier shared that his first priority will be strengthening the prospect pool via the draft. The Sharks will have the 11th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft set to take place in Montreal on July 7th. Even though the selection will be heavily influenced by the work of Doug Wilson, Jr. and Tim Burke, Grier's first impact in San Jose will be traced back to and begin with the draft selections made this week.
When speaking of the type of team Grier expects to see and build in San Jose, he had this to say:
Tenacious, highly competitive, in your face, fast, hard to play against – that’s what you see when you watch the playoffs and that’s what wins in this league
The past few seasons have been nothing close to tenacious or highly competitive for Sharks fans who have been pushing for a rebuild. When asked about a rebuild in San Jose, Grier is not as enthusiastic as the fan base, or the rest of the league, about any "R words":
For us, we’re not looking to rebuild... For us, there might be a few bumps in the road ahead. Maybe we’ve got to step back a little bit to go forward, but we’re going to try and get better and try and make the roster better every day. Our goal is to win here.
Despite the need to try to salvage the Sharks' current roster, undoubtedly a request made by the ownership, Grier may find himself in a bind when it comes to the Sharks' almost non-existent cap space due to huge contracts owned by aging veterans. The Sharks did make mention of further changes to come but did not emphasize if those changes would occur on the trade block, through player buy-outs, or if they were just the expected changes of filling the coaching vacancies.
Whatever direction Mike Grier and the San Jose Sharks take to get back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the hockey world is watching. More importantly, Sharks fans are watching. And if the club wants to keep the fans watching, they will have to follow up this historic announcement with some historic transactions that will hopefully lead to a historic championship team.