SAN JOSE — The textbooks sit on the shelf in the office environment of San Jose Sharks normal supervisor Doug Wilson next to editions with the NHL Manual & Record Book. They are “Orr: My Story” by Bobby Orr and “All In: How the Best Managers Create a Culture of Belief and Drive Big Results” by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. Perfect, right? The Sharks acquired Erik Karl son, the best offensive defenseman within the NHL, in a trade with the Ottawa Senators last week. Wilson is trying to make San Jose a place players want to be and to win the Stanley Cup.Don’t judge this coverage by those guides, though.[RELATED:Thornton healthy, has high hopes for Sharks with Karl son |Karl son traded to Sharks by Senators]The Karl son trade involved everyone from owner Ha so Plattner to the scouts. Wilson’s influences range from the late Chicago Blackhawks forward Stan Mikita, to the late San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh, to Golden State Warriors GM Bob Myers to two other books in particular.Wilson would rather not name those two guides publicly, let alone detail their le sons.”We’re competitive,” he said with a smile.But it’s no secret that the Sharks and Wilson are trying to keep evolving so they can contend for the Stanley Cup year after year and eventually break through.”I’m lucky,” Wilson said. “I live out here in Silicon Valley, where you’ve got people who are reinventing themselves all the time. I ‘ve got a brilliant owner. I’ve got some amazing people willing to give me their time, and I can listen and learn from them.”The Sharks hired Wilson as GM on May 13, 2003. Since then, they have had the best record during the NHL and made the Stanley Cup Playoffs 13 times in 14 seasons.No GM within the NHL has made more major trades except for perhaps David Poile of the Nashville Predators. Wilson has acquired center Joe Thornton, defenseman Brent Burns, goaltender Martin Jones and forward Evander Kane. Karl son is just the latest.Some of it has been because the Sharks have put themselves in position. Plattner, co-founder of SAP SE software company, has given Wilson the resources to acquire players and sign them to contract extensions, and to move the American Hockey League affiliate to San Jose in 2015. The scouts have found players through the NHL Draft and free agency, and players have been developed in San Jose, giving Wilson the a sets to make trades and the confidence he still has players coming. Wilson has managed the NHL salary cap in a way that has left room to seize opportunities.Some of it has been nece sity. Thanks to their succe s and trades, the Sharks’ average first pick since 2004 has been No. 27. The Sharks also lost forward Patrick Marleau in free agency on July 2, 2017, and came close but didn’t sign center John Tavares in free agency July 1. Each ended up with the Toronto Maple Leafs.”We don’t just use one component,” Wilson said. “In this busine s, though, you do need difference-makers. If you’re not drafting while in the top three and you’re drafting late like us, that’s really the only way you’re going to get them.”Video: Friedman breaks down the Karl son tradeWilson watched his older brother, Murray, win the Cup as a forward with the Montreal Canadiens in 1973 , 1976, 1977 and 1978. Each season, the Canadiens were expected to compete for a championship.That rubbed off on Wilson, whose first roommate was Mikita when he broke into the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1977-78. Wilson was an elite offensive defenseman himself, winning the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman when he had 85 points (39 goals, 46 a sists) in 76 games in 1981-82. He had 827 points (237 goals, 590 a sists) in 1,024 games over 14 seasons with Chicago and two with San Jose. He appreciates the impact elite offensive defensemen like Burns and Karl son can have.Wilson had a curious mind, looking for le sons from the past, trying to stay ahead of the curve. Sharks head athletic trainer Ray Tufts spent 10 years as an athletic trainer with the 49ers. Through mutual friends, Wilson reached out to Walsh and met with him two or three times before he died July 30, 2007. Wilson would drive up to Palo Alto, California, and sit down with Walsh at his favorite ice cream place. A meeting that was supposed to take 30 minutes would take two hours.”I’m sitting there going, ‘This is one of the greatest gifts you could ever get,’” Wilson said.In 2014, the Sharks blew a 3-0 series lead and lost to the Los Angeles Kings in seven games within the Western Conference First Round. The following season, they mi sed the playoffs for the first time underneath Wilson and parted with coach Todd McLellan on April 20, 2015. Wilson met with Myers, who had hired Steve Kerr to coach the Warriors on May 15, 2014, before hiring Peter DeBoer on May 28, 2015.”I spent a lot of time with Bob on researching the ingredients he was looking for in a coach,” Wilson said. “Pete DeBoer has a lot of similar ingredients [to Kerr]. A lot. Inclusive. Bright. Can deliver a me sage succinctly in le s than 30 words.”The Warriors have made the NBA Finals in all four seasons le s than Kerr, winning three championships. The Sharks have made the Final once le s than DeBoer, in 2016, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. But the Sharks have continued to adapt, most notably adding Kane and Karl son, and their chances of winning the Cup Evander Kane Jersey are as good as they’ve ever been.”We’ve changed the blend of our team, but we’ve also tried to get current with how the game is played,” Wilson said. “You can play a speed game either by physically being fast or by thinking the game fast, so there’s a place there for everybody. If you can find a difference-maker, and it’s so rare that it comes along, that impacts the rest of the people.”Maybe one day Wilson will write a book of his own.Tweet from @SanJoseSharks: This is going to be a highly competitive training camp. Whos going to be playing Opening Night? We dont know. The players will have to dictate that themselves. #SJSharks GM Doug Wilson

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