By Ivan Makarov
The search for the new head coach to lead San Jose Sharks is over and today the Sharks introduced Peter DeBoer as the new man in charge of the hockey team.
DeBoer is replacing Todd McLellan who stepped down from the Sharks on April 20 in what was announced as a “mutual decision” by both the coach and the club. McLellan took the Sharks to two Western Conference finals, won the President’s Trophy, but failed to advance the team to its ultimate goal – Stanley Cup Finals – while having one of the best rosters the team have put together. Sharks missed the playoffs in the most recent season, so McLellan’s departure did not come as a surprise.
With the limited choices of available head coaches, the Sharks ownership and management are going with the younger coach but yet the one who does have some experience under his belt. DeBoer coached Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils, taking the Devils all the way to the Stanley Cup finals during 2011-12 season where they ended up losing to the eventual champion Los Angeles Kings.
And yet DeBoer is a risky choice for the Sharks. In his seven seasons as an NHL coach he has a mixed record of 217-200-77, and only managed to lead his teams into the a postseason once. According to some, he’s also got a mixed record with young players, so it remains to be seen whether he manages to grow the increasing number of young prospects inside the Sharks organization – a direction that team’s management indicated they want to head.
With the Sharks missing the playoffs last year, and the aging of its two best players and former captains Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, the Sharks may not need a coach with significant postseason and Cup winning experience. If viewed from that angle, the hiring of DeBoer might be a safe one. But it is also clear that Sharks are no longer competing for the Cup in the near future – otherwise the hiring of Dan Balysma, Randy Carlyle or Mike Babcock would have made more sense.
Time will tell.