The big coaching news breaking this morning is that the Detroit Red Wings have granted teams permission to interview Mike Babcock. While we wait to find out whether the Sharks are involved in those sweepstakes, here's an update to the growing list of candidates they've already spoken to:
Pete DeBoer is quietly drawing interest. San Jose and Edmonton are among teams believed to have talked to DeBoer.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 8, 2015
DeBoer was fired by the Devils this past December after 248 regular season games, in addition to 24 playoff contests, behind the New Jersey bench. Prior to that, he spent three seasons coaching the Florida Panthers. In his first year with New Jersey, the 46-year-old led a Devils team that had missed the playoffs the previous season all the way to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Kings. The Devils followed that up by missing the playoffs in each of the next two seasons despite posting fantastic possession numbers over that span. The loss of Zach Parise to Minnesota and Ilya Kovalchuk to the KHL, combined with Martin Brodeur's continued steep decline, meant they simply couldn't turn that shot advantage into a similar one in the goal column.
But DeBoer deserves credit for squeezing auspicious underlying numbers out of an unimpressive roster, even if it was accomplished by playing boring, low-event hockey with a focus on shot suppression. That largely got away from the Devils at the start of the 2014-15 season though, perhaps due in large part to their aging roster, leading to DeBoer's dismissal. From In Lou We Trust at the time of the firing:
DeBoer's record with the Devils is certainly a mixed bag but they were playing fundamentally good hockey under him prior to this season, even if that never manifested itself in positive results beyond the Cup run in year one. At the end of the day, at least he isn't Randy Carlyle.