Will the Sharks try to sign Islanders’ Tavares?

SAN JOSE — If it was possible to plant a computer chip in Sharks general manager Doug Wilson’s brain to read his thoughts for just 24 hours, Saturday would be the perfect day to attempt such an experiment.

The New York Islanders will be in town for a showdown at the SAP Center, which means that Wilson’s eyes will be glued on John Tavares, a pending-unrestricted free agent who could be the biggest name to hit the open market in at least a decade.

When Wilson watches Tavares blaze down the ice, post up in the slot and create scoring chances for his teammates, will he simply be appreciating the talent of one of the game’s top two-way centers or will he see him as the solution to the biggest puzzle he’s faced in his 14-year tenure as the Sharks top decision maker?

As Joe Thornton enters his twilight years in the wake of Patrick Marleau’s departure to Toronto, Wilson is attempting to pull off what only one team has been able to accomplish in the salary cap era. He’s trying to give his squad a heart transplant while maintaining its status as a perennial Stanley Cup contender in the Western Conference.

Through tremendous scouting and drafting, the Detroit Red Wings managed to transition away from its core of Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan to a group led by Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Lidstrom last decade without missing the playoffs. Most teams take a nose dive into irrelevancy once their core players reach their expiration dates.

But if the Sharks are going to be a force in the Pacific Division for the rest of this decade and beyond, Wilson will need to find a way to acquire another Olympic-caliber player to complement his revamped core of Brent Burns, Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

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