Former San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, now in improved health, has been hired by the Pittsburgh Penguins to be a senior advisor of hockey operations.
Per the Penguins, Wilson “will provide counsel, opinions and expertise to hockey operations leadership on all matters including personnel decisions” and will join the team at various points during the season and offseason.
“Doug brings over 40 years of NHL experience to our program,” said Kyle Dubas, the Penguins’ president of hockey operations and general manager, in a statement. “Doug will serve as a source of both experience and wisdom to our entire hockey operations department. His ability to maintain high standards of performance and professionalism over two decades with Sharks is the type of consistency we all aspire to these positions.”
Wilson, 66, stepped down as the Sharks’ GM in April 2022 to focus on his recovery from an undisclosed health issue, but also noted at the time that he wanted to continue his career in the NHL in the future. Wilson’s health improved earlier this year, and speculation began about a possible return to the NHL in some capacity.
Starting in May 2003, Wilson was the Sharks’ general manager for 19 years. In that time, the Sharks had the third-highest regular season winning percentage in the NHL and made the playoffs 14 times, reaching the Western Conference final five times and the Stanley Cup Final once in 2016. The Sharks also won the President’s Trophy in 2009 for having the NHL’s best regular season record.
The Sharks organization honored Wilson for his accomplishments with a special ceremony last October, raising a banner with his initials to the rafters at SAP Center before the team played the Chicago Blackhawks.
Wilson was traded by Chicago to the expansion Sharks in 1991 and served as San Jose’s captain for two years until his retirement in 1993. Wilson was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2020 and inducted in November 2021, shortly before he began what was originally intended to be a temporary medical leave of absence.
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With the Penguins, Wilson is reunited with defenseman Erik Karlsson, who was acquired by Pittsburgh from the Sharks last month in the NHL’s biggest offseason trade.
In a Stanley Cup-or-bust move in Sept. 2018, Wilson acquired Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators for a host of players and draft picks, then signed the Norris Trophy winner to an eight-year, $92 million contract extension the following spring. The Sharks have missed the playoffs each of the last four years and are in the midst of a rebuild under Mike Grier, now in his second year as the team’s GM.