The San Jose Sharks have parted ways with head coach Pete DeBoer, Pierre LeBrun has reported. This decision, as LeBrun mentions, was purely a hockey decision and wasn’t a result of any sort of culture change or reckoning that’s swept the hockey world as of late.
DeBoer still had this season and next season left on his contract worth roughly $3 million annually.
With the Sharks in the midst of a five-game losing streak, the timing of this decision isn’t surprising. The Sharks have been generally disappointing this season as well, holding a 15-16-2 record, good for sixth place in the Pacific Division.
This season was DeBoer’s fifth as the Sharks’ head coach and was really the first instance of real adversity for him and his squad after qualifying for the postseason in each of his first four years with the team.
The Sharks weren’t just a playoff team under DeBoer, either, as they’ve also been legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, even playing in the Stanley Cup Final in a losing effort to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016.
This run was the closest the Sharks have ever come to winning the Stanley Cup.
DeBoer landed on his feet with the Sharks after having a successful run in New Jersey that saw him hired in 2011, lead his team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, also in a losing effort, and eventually being fired during the 2014-15 season after missing the postseason in each of the two previous seasons.
Bob Boughner Reportedly Replacing Pete DeBoer
It’s unclear where DeBoer will end up next, but Bob Boughner is expected to take over as the Sharks new coach, according to Darren Dreger.
Boughner previously served as the head coach of the Florida Panthers for two seasons, failing to qualify for the postseason in both years. Prior to that opportunity as well as following his firing, Boughner served as an assistant coach in San Jose under DeBoer.
Boughner inherits a Sharks’ team that has many very strong, familiar pieces to build around throughout the lineup. Unfortunately, though, there are still many areas the team will need to improve upon, including goaltending, to really turn this season around.
Still, with the St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup and proving last season that changes can be made around this time of year (and even later, in the case of the Blues) before a season is totally lost, the Sharks could make strides with a new coach.
With Martin Jones sporting a sub-900 save percentage for the second consecutive season, though, it’s fairly clear the main area of concern for the Sharks that needs to be addressed. Whether that’s bringing in a new goaltender or figuring out what’s gone wrong for Jones, something has to give.
Time will tell, but the Sharks have taken the first step in what they’ve deemed the correct process to fix their 2019-20 season.