Sharks GM: Young players 'need to step up to the next level'
Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images Sport / Getty

With the departure of franchise cornerstone Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is calling on his young players to take the team to the next level.

"Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc, it's their time," Wilson said, according to NHL.com's Tracey Myers. "They need to step up to the next level.

"We have to be the sum of all our parts. There are teams around this league that have lost some good players. Some teams lost their best players in their prime and they found their team game, they found their collective connection and had a lot of success. We need everyone to bring something to the table, learn from what happened last year, re-establish our game and bring that love and juice and energy that 'Jumbo' brought to the rink."

Thornton's departure marked the second straight offseason in which a key veteran player moved on from the Sharks. Last year, Joe Pavelski opted to sign with the Dallas Stars after spending 13 years in San Jose.

The Sharks have only two forwards on their active roster who are at least 30 years old: Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau. Wilson expressed his confidence in his team's young lineup and sees the potential for players to step up and take on bigger roles next season.

"We have five top-six forwards, guys who have scored 30 goals or close to 60 points, we need someone to come in and compete for that (sixth) spot," Wilson said. "I like our defense. I want to leave a spot open for some competition for some of the younger guys. We think we have the bones of a good team. We have some competition. We have some young guys coming in."

The Sharks finished last in the Western Conference this past season with a 29-36-5 record.

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Sharks GM: Young players 'need to step up to the next level'
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