SAN JOSE -- The Sharks' trade deadline acquisitions of Scott Hannan and Raffi Torres were made by general manager Doug Wilson.

But Wilson wouldn't have pursued the moves if not for an uptick in the team's performance in late March.

"We got off to a good start, then we got away from our game,'' Wilson said, recounting the arc of the season. "We weren't playing well enough and needed to make some adjustments. We had some pending unrestricted free agents in a year with a very strong draft, and I felt like we had a lot of younger players ready to step up."

So on March 25, Wilson traded defenseman Douglas Murray to Pittsburgh for two draft picks. Then he monitored the team's response.

The Sharks ripped off five consecutive games, thereby convincing Wilson to make additional moves at the trade deadline.

"The players earned it,'' he said of acquiring Hannan and Torres, who have helped propel the Sharks into the Western Conference semifinals against the Los Angeles Kings. "If we hadn't played well after the initial trade, we wouldn't have done it. But we had played well.''

Asked why he went after Torres, who had a reputation for being a dirty player, Wilson added:

"We always liked him. In this business, perception gets in the way of reality. You want him on your side.''

Then Wilson compared Torres to one of the hardest hitters in Bay Area sports history.

"He's uncomfortable to play against, like people were uncomfortable playing against Ronnie Lott.''