As the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs finally start to draw to a close and free agency just around the corner with an October 9 start date, the future is suddenly a little less nebulous. That lack of certainty has allowed for the Sharks to take their time when it comes to several decisions going forward into what will surely be another strange season, including naming the franchise’s ninth full-time head coach.
Interim coach Bob Boughner, who came into the position in December 2019 as the sole survivor of a coaching staff culling, has been the front-runner for the position, with reports in June that the “interim” would be dropped from his title. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson had nothing new to report in July when Darren Dreger of TSN reported that Boughner would be adding Rocky Thompson, former head coach of the AHL Chicago Wolves, to his coaching staff in San Jose.
But now that the 2020 postseason is nearly over, a decision will need to be made soon. The coaching market has been making a bit of noise lately: Peter Laviolette landed with the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. Geoff Ward, another mid-season replacement, was given the official title with the Calgary Flames on Monday. The Minnesota Wild locked down Dean Evason in July. A Stanley Cup Final appearance has almost certainly earned Rick Bowness a full-time gig, though the situation in Dallas is a bit more complicated.
All of that is to say that if that Sharks were waiting to weigh their options, it seems those options have begun dwindling — assuming, of course, that the Sharks, like all teams, only really considered a small pool of previous NHL coaches as options. Gerard Gallant interviewed and impressed in Washington, but is still a free agent, as is Bruce Boudreau — after that, the list drops off quite a bit in terms of results.
Pierre LeBrun of the Athletic believes that Boughner’s hiring will be made official sometime in “the next week or two.” The Sharks have not released a new statement.
In July, Doug Wilson told the Mercury News that “the process of identifying candidates to fill out our staff is on-going.” Though the statement was made amid the Rocky Thompson rumors, it also seems likely that the Sharks will announce all coaching staff hirings at once, which might just leave things unofficially official until the press release is ready to go.