Mike Grier

Grier confident Sharks on upward trajectory after bad season

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Editor's Note: Sheng Peng will be a regular contributor to NBC Sports California’s Sharks coverage. You can read more of his coverage on San Jose Hockey Now, listen to him on the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast, and follow him on Twitter at @Sheng_Peng.

Mike Grier has a couple of ideas about how to make the San Jose Sharks better next season.

Of course, the Sharks can’t get much worse, right? Their .287 Points Percentage is the second-worst of the salary cap era, only ahead of the 2019-20 Detroit Red Wings’ .275.

“I would hope this is rock-bottom and we can kind of progress and take some steps forward next year,” the San Jose GM said in his exit interview Saturday. “It was worse than I expected coming into the season. I didn’t think we were a playoff team, but thought we’d be better than we were. From the start, we had the injuries, everything just kind of snowballed.”

Grier isn’t blaming his team’s ineptitude solely on the deep groin issue that reduced star center Logan Couture to just six games played this season – he also alluded to other moves that he did or didn’t make in free agency or via trade. He didn’t wish to be more specific than that, but took responsibility.

“I think the season overall wasn’t good enough, and I think everyone—starting with me—has got to kind of self-assess and look in the mirror and see what you did wrong and what you can do better,” he said. “It all starts with me.”

Moving forward?

“We definitely need to get faster, be harder to play against. On my side, I think that’s through free agency or trades—looking to add players that kind of fit the bill,” he said. “We have roster space and cap flexibility to be able to try and add and target some guys.”

The Sharks could have tens of millions to play with in free agency, but don’t expect them to go wild. Grier was clear that the rebuilding Sharks aren’t in a place, competitively, to hand out long contracts to any UFAs. The longest contract that Grier has given a free agent since he took over in July 2022 was a four-year, $6 million deal with defenseman Matt Benning. That’s about the term, or less, that he’s looking to add this summer.

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