SAN JOSE -- For the Sharks, this was the NHL trade deadline that wasn't.
General manager Doug Wilson has stayed out of the final-day fray before, but Wednesday marked the first time in his tenure that he's stayed on the sidelines for the final month of the trade window.
"We came into the deadline with the approach that we believed in our players," Wilson said. "A lot of our decisions were impacted on health issues, and several of them were clarified in the last little while."
Inside the locker room, players welcomed the faith shown by management.
"I'm glad we get to have another kick at the can," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "We did some good things at the end of last year, and we brought up some good kids this year. I'm definitely happy with our locker room, and I'm glad that people upstairs and people behind the bench believe in us, also."
Wilson, who became G.M. in May 2003, signaled last month that once a half-dozen injured players that included Logan Couture and Raffi Torres were healthy, he felt San Jose would finally be close to the team he thought he was constructing last summer.
Rookie Tomas Hertl does remain out long-term as he recovers from knee surgery. But Wilson said he held off determining a deadline strategy until he could see how another rookie, Matt Nieto, would perform in Hertl's spot after the Olympic break because Nieto injured his foot in the final game before the three-week shutdown.
"He was actually a crucial piece for us, to know that he was going to be healthy and be able to play at a high level," Wilson said of Nieto, who had the winning goal Sunday in San Jose's 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
But beyond health considerations, the Sharks also were limited in what they could do at the deadline by the NHL salary cap. When Torres and Couture came off long-term injured reserve, San Jose was above the $64.3 million payroll cap. But the team quickly became compliant when Brad Stuart was placed on injured reserve, excluding his salary from cap considerations.
Had the Sharks made one of the big-name, high-salaried deadline acquisitions of players such as New York Islanders forward Thomas Vanek ($5.75 million cap hit), a player or players making a similar amount of money would have had to be lopped off the payroll one way or the other. Vanek, instead, was traded to Montreal.
And Wilson's options were limited because some of the Sharks' top-end veterans have clauses in their contracts that limit or prevent trades without their approval.
None of which is to suggest Wilson wasn't working the phones, trying to see what was out there.
The Sharks did consider bringing back forward Devin Setoguchi, now with the Winnipeg Jets. And TSN analyst Pierre LeBrun said San Jose went "pretty far down the road" in talks with the New York Rangers for Ryan Callahan, who became part of the day's biggest deal when he went to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Martin St. Louis. Wilson declined to comment on that report.
Wilson characterized this year's trade deadline as a "rental market" and said the Sharks were not about to give up the younger players that sellers were looking for in return.
"We've worked hard to do this reset-refresh to get to this point," Wilson said, using the term he coined a year ago when the Sharks traded away Ryane Clowe, Douglas Murray and Michal Handzus before bringing in Torres and Scott Hannan. "We weren't going to sacrifice things just to make a change to look like we did something."
And both Wilson and coach Todd McLellan pointed out that there won't be the challenge of familiarizing outside players with the Sharks system. Overall, McLellan sounded anything but disappointed that there wasn't an infusion of outside talent.
"We're excited about it," he said. "When we put everything together, there is some cohesiveness, and there's a unity amongst our team that is nice to have moving forward."
at Sharks (39-17-7),
7:30 p.m. NBCSN, CSNCA
Sharks general manager not interested in deals on "rental market."