We wrap up our big question series by tackling the future of the San Jose Sharks’ head coach. You’ve heard what Marcus had to say on the matter, now take a listen to what the rest of the staff thinks on the matter below.
At this point, I don't see a reason why the Sharks would part ways with DeBoer. In his first season, DeBoer impressed by leading the Sharks all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. This season, though, DeBoer's squad was eliminated in Round 1 to an Oilers team with very little playoff experience.
Although this season was disappointing, I don't think DeBoer was the main reason for an early exit. The Sharks could have been a completely different team had they been fully healthy. Also, there were some signs of improvement from last year's team. They played significantly better on home ice and played a much more consistent season rather than slumping for the first few months like last year. I don't think DeBoer gets enough credit for fixing these issues.
DeBoer isn't regarded as one of the best coaches in the league, but I think he's done a fine job with the Sharks so far. For me, two years is too small of a sample size to judge his coaching ability. Come back next year and I might have a different answer. As of right now, the Sharks should and will retain Pete DeBoer.
Absolutely. An early playoff exit by a team riddled with injuries a year removed from a Stanley Cup Final appearance does not a hot seat make. Even if management has the same doubts about some of DeBoer’s curiouser decisions as I do (benching my boy Timo in an elimination game in favor of a player on a down year with one or more separated shoulders? Oof), I don’t see them turfing the man who got this team farther into the postseason as they’ve ever been after a very excusable step back.
While DeBoer has a reputation around the league of impatience with younger players, he seems to say all the right things when it comes to treatment of his aging veterans. If you think the team is likely to bring Thornton and Marleau back next year (and I do), it makes sense to keep a coaching staff on who are open to excusing them from optional skates, encouraging off time, et cetera. Like I said yesterday, I’d like to see them move even further in that direction, which has the added bonus of giving the kids more ice time while we’re at it.
Finally, as Mike Babcock said when asked about the Claude Julien firing earlier this season, any time you fire your head coach, you’d better have someone better in mind (paraphrasing). Maybe there is a better coach out there for this squad, but it’s not obvious.
It's absolutely ridiculous that some people would like to see Peter DeBoer pack his bags and leave San Jose after the Sharks loss to Edmonton in the playoffs. While several lineup changes and managerial decisions were unwelcomed by the FeartheFin faithful (as some of them should be), I think we're forgetting that in his first year as head coach, DeBoer took the Sharks somewhere they had never been before: The Stanley Cup Final. While losing to Pittsburgh in 6 may not be a good enough consolation prize for some, he was able to do something that Darryl Sutter, Ron Wilson, Todd McLellan, and countless other former San Jose coaches couldn't. Shouldn't he have a longer leash? I certainly think so.
Also, the Sharks were as banged up as ever entering the playoff. With the recent injury news about Jumbo Joe and Hertl, along with Cooch's nasty palate injury, PDB's squad clearly wasn't healthy. While the usual guys performed up to speed, it was a down year from guys like Joonas Donskoi, Mikkel Boedker, and a handful of others. Whether or not the Sharks bring back Marleau and Thornton (and for the record if they can't bring back both, please let it be Mr. Shark Patrick Marleau), the offseason is going to be an interesting one for San Jose. I'm excited to see how they can build off what was an underwhelming Stanley Cup hangover season.
Pete DeBoer absolutely should not be fired. PDB has been at the helm for two full seasons now, and has done better than any other Sharks coach by pure metrics with the Finals appearance to his name. DeBoer has a Sharks team exiting their prime and still went deep, whereas McLellan had a seven year prime window that was basically squandered.
Now, I don’t believe in the argument that “he went to the Finals, don’t fire him” should be the reason for keeping him. I think a fairly successful two year run warrants a third year to see if PDB can recapture what he did in year one with San Jose and New Jersey.
Petey is not without his warts however. His reliance on sticking with a PP that was clearly broken and ineffective was a bizarre decision. DeBoer is obviously a coach who goes with what he knows, so expecting him to change a PP even halfway through the season was probably wishful thinking. PDB also seems tied to Steve Spott, for better or worse. If I were coach, shaking up the assistant ranks might go a long way in helping the Sharks get back to the Finals and gaining some job security. I would like to see him hire some former head coaches to fill out the assistant ranks, the same way Paul MacLean and Mike Yeo went back to assistant roles after being head coaches.
DeBoer also makes some interesting lineup choices. He gets credit for not playing Haley against Edmonton, even resisting after San Jose gave up two short-handed goals. It clearly isn’t lost on him what the better lineups are for San Jose. DeBoer also seemed to recognize which lines worked, like the captain line and the EU line for instance, and generally rode them until they became less effective in his eyes.
It also has come out the Sharks were basically a team of cripples by the end. This can only lend credence to the fact DeBoer knew what he was doing and squeezed everything he could out of the San Jose Band-Aids. That being said, benching Meier in game six, no playoffs Labanc, and the Marleau- Couture-Ward shut down line can bring up questions to the contrary. Again, DeBoer is probably an average coach at worst, with the ability to be better than a lot of other NHL coaches. I think he deserves another year to see what he can do, especially with a long off-season to retool.
DeBoer being fired after only two years is not a good look for the organization either, especially without any dynamite coaching options waiting to be scooped up. If you truly think he should go, I would really like them to hire Phil Housley or Kirk Muller. However, switching coaches after only two years and lots of success is not an ideal way to run an organization. Let PDB have a third year, then reevaluate.
I think a lot of people misunderstand this question as a pure indictment on Pete DeBoer’s tenure as head coach of the Sharks. While he’s made a whole bunch of mediocre decisions, to me the decision comes back to the Sharks’ first big decision: are they going to be competitive next year or not?
If the answer is yes, keep DeBoer. He’s been decent enough with the veterans (though still not great, in my opinion) to keep him around. If the answer is no? He needs to go. DeBoer has not shown talent at any of his three stops integrating youth into the lineup and if the Sharks are taking a step back, it’s time to give another coach a go.
That’s not just fair to the young guys on the roster, that’s fair to DeBoer. He didn’t sign up for a rebuilding roster; he signed up for a contender. If the Sharks decide to do a major retool (I doubt it) I’d expect a “mutual parting of ways.” DeBoer is almost certainly coming back next year, but if he doesn’t, this will be the way it goes down.