The San Jose Sharks released a statement Wednesday saying the team will have a press conference on Thursday to name their new head coach. ESPN reports former New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer will be the man presented.
DeBoer got fired by the New Jersey Devils after 36 games this season, but he lead the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, losing to the Los Angeles Kings. Before his Devils tenure, he spent three seasons in charge of the Florida Panthers.
So what is it that makes DeBoer an interesting name for the Sharks?
Besides the Stanley Cup Final appearance three years ago, DeBoer has failed to make the playoffs in his other five full seasons in the league. His track record isn’t very impressive, but there must be something the Sharks see in him.
Sure, he will be a new voice for the players, but does he have the ability to take control over what at times seems to be a very dysfunctional locker room? The Sharks are in a weird situation where they are locked down with two expensive older players, and not too many young players coming through the pipeline.
Joe Thornton has had his dustups with general manager Doug Wilson, but they have both said publicly that their dispute is in the past. Patrick Marleau is starting to show his age, and both him and Thornton have no-movement clauses in their contracts, and both have cap hits well over $6 million for the next two seasons.
It’s clear that Thornton still has a lot of influence over the team, and he’s still a very productive player, but the Sharks need to go in a different direction and hand over the team to Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns.
If DeBoer ends up with the job, fans must be hoping that he can be successful and reverse the trend he had with his two previous teams. He had his best years with the Devils and Panthers in his first year with those teams. It’s been a downward slope after that.
Will he be able to live up to the high expectations fans and owners have in San Jose, who are used to being a strong regular season team and a consistent feature in the playoffs?
No matter who takes over in San Jose, they have a big challenge ahead of them. The Sharks are in need of a couple of major changes, and getting a new coach is just the first step.