Mike Grier of the San Jose Sharks talks NHL draft pick Macklin Celebrini

Mike Grier of the San Jose Sharks talks NHL draft pick Macklin Celebrini

Mike Grier of the San Jose Sharks talks NHL draft pick Macklin Celebrini

Calen Addison of the San Jose Sharks plays during an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, March 12, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

SAN JOSE – Next week will likely be the most important time of the year for San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier.

In addition to wrapping up preparations for this week’s NHL Draft in Las Vegas, where the Sharks will have the No. 1 overall pick. 1 and four picks in the top 42, Grier must prepare for free agency and finalize next season’s roster decisions.

It’s a time of transformation, and the Sharks consider themselves a somewhat different team than the one that finished last season with a league-worst 19-54-9 record.

“It’s a chance to build your team again,” Grier said Monday in a conference call with reporters. “It’s a fun time of year. Obviously, having the first overall pick is a big moment for the organization.”

Grier could barely contain his excitement for presumptive No. 1 overall pick Macklin Celebrini, who has all the makings of a future cornerstone player for the Sharks.

“He’s a driven kid. He’s an Alpha, pretty much everything you’ve come to expect and experience from other No. 1 picks,” Grier said. “He’s got all those things (plus) self-belief and will and desire to get better and work at his craft. He’s an impressive kid.”

Here are other takeaways from Grier’s availability:

PERSONNEL CHANGES: Grier said he will not issue a qualifying offer to defenseman Calen Addison, a restricted free agent, and will likely allow pending UFAs such as forward/defenseman Jacob MacDonald, forward Justin Bailey and goaltender Devin Cooley to walk on market on July 1.

“That being said, it doesn’t mean we’re ahead of them, it’s just something that right now it doesn’t look like we can get done before July 1,” Grier said of his pending UFAs. “That doesn’t mean there won’t be interest down the road.”

Addison’s departure was not necessarily unexpected. He had just 12 points in 60 games this season and averaged just over 17 minutes of ice time per game. He was also a healthy scratch on a few occasions.

But the Sharks already have six defensemen signed for next season, with Henry Thrun and Ty Emberson, both restricted free agents, the Sharks want back. Additionally, the Sharks have Shakir Mukhamadullin on the verge of becoming a full-time NHL player.

“We gave him an opportunity and where we are now, we have other guys in front of him,” Grier said of the 24-year-old Addison. “We have to probably step up to somebody who can run the power play. Calen did well here and I wish him all the best. But you have to make some decisions. You only have so many guys and so many roster spots.”

A report indicated the Sharks were interested in acquiring forward Cam Atkinson from the Philadelphia Flyers, but Grier said there was “nothing to that rumor. It’s not someone we’re talking about.”

The NHL’s buyout window opens later this week, but Grier said he has no plans to buy anyone’s contract at this time.

COUTURE HEALTH: Grier spoke with Logan Couture last week and said the Sharks captain “feels pretty good, so I think he’s optimistic about everything. So we’ll just see how the rest of the summer goes and how he continues to train.”

Couture missed all but six games last season with a sometimes debilitating condition called osteitis pubis, raising questions about whether he will be available for the start of training camp in September.

Grier said Couture’s plan is to start skating after he returns to San Jose in July, “and we’ll take it from there.” Grier stressed last week that he has no interest in trading Couture.

COACHING SITUATION: New coach Ryan Warsofsky is still in the process of finalizing his staff, Grier said, as it remains unclear whether assistants Scott Gordon, Brian Wiseman, Thomas Speer and Nick Gialdini will return for a third season in San Jose. Those coaches are free to seek employment elsewhere.

“Hopefully once we get to (development camp in early July) we’ll have one or two parts of the staff in place,” Grier said.

The Sharks have yet to hire a head athletic trainer to replace Ray Tufts, who was let go along with David Quinn as coach on April 24. Grier said Mike Potenza, who was hired as the team’s director of high performance, will have some insight into who that person will be.

DRAFT DECISIONS: In addition to general election no. 1, the Sharks hold picks at no. 14, 33 and 42 in the first two rounds. So far, they have nine draft picks in total.

Grier said he’s open to moving that No. 1 overall pick. 14, either bundling it with something else to climb — which he admitted would be difficult — or trade from that spot to acquire more picks or other assets.

The Sharks did that two years ago in Grier’s first week on the job, trading the No. 11 pick to Winnipeg for picks at 27, 34 and 45 overall. The Jets took forward Conor Geekie, the Sharks took forwards Filip Bystedt and Cam Lund at Nos. 27 and 34, respectively, and defenseman Mattias Hävelid at No. 45.

If the Sharks keep the No. 14, Grier said they will likely go with the best player available rather than touch a need such as a big defenseman.

“We’ll see how the board is formed here after we get to Vegas and have the final meetings, get everything set up and see how things look and align,” Grier said. “But most likely, at 14, we will still be the best player available.”