SAN JOSE, CA – Doug Wilson announced today that he is stepping down from his role as general manager of the San Jose Sharks.
“These past 19 years as general manager of the San Jose Sharks have been a privilege and one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable times of my life,” said Wilson. “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work for and with some of the most talented and passionate people in hockey.
“I would like to thank Hasso Plattner along with our previous ownership groups for the incredible opportunity and trust they have placed in me and our employees. I also want to thank all the coaches, players, scouts, coaches and members of the hockey department that I have worked with over these many years for their dedication and commitment to our organization. I want to thank the amazing fans of the San Jose Sharks franchise. Your enthusiasm and support of this team is second to none and I will cherish the shared memories we have built together over nearly two decades.
“I could not have continued in this role without the unconditional love and support of my family, especially my wife, Kathy. The sacrifices they made to enable me to take advantage of this opportunity were selfless and I cannot thank them enough.
“Finally, I would like to thank everyone who reached out during my leave of absence. Although I have made great strides over the past few months, I feel it is in the best interest of the organization and myself to step down from my current duties and focus on my health and full recovery. I look forward to continuing my career in the NHL in the future.”
Wilson, who was named general manager on May 13, 2003, strategically built the Sharks into one of the National Hockey League’s elite franchises through strong drafting, smart deals, and timely signings as free agents. Under his leadership, only the Pittsburgh Penguins (768) and Boston Bruins (762) have won more regular season games than the Sharks (760), and only Boston (1,708) and Pittsburgh (1,686) have accumulated more league points than the Sharks (1,686) .
The Sharks qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs 14 times under Wilson, including 10 straight times (2004-2014). Between 2003–04 and 2019–20 (excluding the lockout-shortened 2012–13 season), the Sharks averaged 45.6 wins per season and 100.7 points per year under his stewardship.
Also, only Pittsburgh has played in more Stanley Cup playoff rounds (31) than the Sharks (30) since 2003-04. Under Wilson’s leadership, the Sharks won the Presidents’ Trophy (2009), five Pacific Division titles (2004, 2008-11), made five Western Conference Finals (2004, 2010, 2011, 2016, 2019) and even made it for an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals (2016).
During his tenure, Wilson negotiated several blockbuster 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 Eric 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 Brown (2007), Charlie Coyle (2010), Thomas Hertl (2012), Timo Meier (2015) and Mario Ferrari (2017).
Because of the team’s consistently strong regular-season performance, the Sharks have held the lowest average draft position of any NHL club (128.0) since 2003, almost four places behind the second-lowest club. Despite this average drafting position, which includes only five top-10 picks (Michalek/6th; Setoguchi/8th; Couture/9th; Meier/9th; Eklund/7th) and none higher than sixth overall, San Jose’s draft pick ranks seventh in games played, sixth in goals, tenth in points, and 13th in assists among all NHL teams.
In his more than 18 seasons at the helm of the Sharks, Wilson rose on the NHL’s all-time general manager list. On January 26, 2017, Wilson joined an elite club, becoming only the fourth player to play 1,000 NHL hockey games and serve as general manager of an NHL club for at least 1,000 games. The only others to have accomplished this feat were Bobby Clarke, Bob Gainey, and Bob Pulford of the Hockey Hall of Fame (since accomplished by Bob Murray).
On October 8, 2019, he contested his 1,200th. Played as general manager and five days later passed Conn Smythe (682) for 19th on the NHL all-time wins list. He scored his 700th win on January 4, 2020 and is currently ranked 14th on the all-time list of achievements as a general manager (760). Wilson ranks seventh on the NHL’s all-time list of general managers for most wins with a franchise and is one of two active NHL general managers to have played 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 fourth-longest serving among all active NHL general managers (behind Poile, Lou Lamoriello and Ken Holland).
Wilson joined the Sharks’ hockey operations division as Director of Pro Development in 1997-98, a role he held until being 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 fledgling franchise. He played two seasons for the Sharks, serving as the organization’s first captain and recording 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 his 1,000th NHL milestone game on November 21, 1992, becoming the 77th player in league history to achieve the feat. In addition, he was twice (1992 and 1993) named a Sharks nominee for the King Clancy Award, given for leadership and humanitarian contributions on and off the ice.
Before coming to San Jose, Wilson established himself as one of the most dynamic defensemen to ever play with the Chicago Blackhawks. Among all-time NHL defensemen, Wilson ranks 12th in goals (237), 15th in points (827), and 18th in assists (590). He also holds the fourth-highest season record for goals by a defender (39, 1981-82), ninth among defenders for most points per game (.81, min. 500 games), and 12th for most career recordings (3,296 ).
In 1982, Wilson won the James Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman and was named a First Team NHL All-Star after 85 points (39 goals, 46 assists) in 76 games and leading all defensemen in goals. He finished in the top five of the Norris Trophy voting three more times. Selected for the NHL All-Star Game eight times, Wilson was named a Second Team NHL All-Star in 1985 and 1990.
Between 1979 and 1991, Wilson’s 719 points for a defenseman trailed only Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Wilson began his illustrious career in hockey after being drafted sixth overall by the Blackhawks in the 1977 NHL Draft. The stalwart blueliner appeared in 938 NHL games with Chicago from 1977 to 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. He ranks first among defenders in the Blackhawks franchise in goals, points, assists, points per game (0.83, at least 300 games) and fourth in games played.
He played in 1,024 NHL regular season games with the Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks.
Wilson also appeared in 95 Stanley Cup Playoff games with Chicago, recording 80 points (19 goals, 61 assists) with a plus-11 rating and an .84 point-per-game average. He ranks first in points per game, second in assists and points, second in goals, and seventh in games played in the postseason among franchise defenders.
Wilson announced his retirement as a hockey player prior to the 1993-94 season.
Internationally, Wilson represented Team Canada at the 1984 Canada Cup, where he won a gold medal, and at the ’87 Rendezvous against the Soviet Union.
Wilson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 15, 2021 as a member of the Class of 2020. He is also a member of three regional Sports Halls of Fame; Ottawa (launched Oct. 1998), Chicago (launched Sept. 1999), and San Jose (launched Nov. 2016). The Ottawa 67s also honored his distinguished career by retiring his No. 7 sweater.