By Jesse Granger
Jan 15, 2020
Uploaded by: Martin Arnold
Frustrated with early-season inconsistencies, unable to yet live up to preseason expectations, the Golden Knights have fired head coach Gerard Gallant and immediately hired former San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer to coach in Vegas.
Gallant, who had one year remaining on his contract in Vegas, was informed of the coaching change this morning, sources told The Athletic.
To say the change was shocking would be putting it lightly. Gallant is only a little more than one season removed from winning the Jack Adams Award after leading the expansion Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup final in 2018. He was also set to coach the Pacific Division in the NHL All-Star game on Jan. 25.
Vegas has struggled lately, losing four straight games to drop out of playoff positioning, and management felt Gallant wasn’t getting enough out of the talent on the roster.
“In order for our team to reach its full potential, we determined a coaching change was necessary,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said in a press release. “Our team is capable of more than we have demonstrated this season.”
The Golden Knights currently sit at 24-19-6, in fifth-place in the Pacific Division. Assistant coach Mike Kelly was also relieved of his duties in Vegas.
“We would like to thank Gerard and Mike for their service to the Vegas Golden Knights,” McCrimmon said. “They were both instrumental to the success we have enjoyed in our first two-plus seasons and we wish them all the best moving forward.”
Vegas instantly replaced Gallant with DeBoer, who helped the San Jose Sharks end the Golden Knights’ 2018-19 season in the first round of the playoffs. DeBoer was fired by the Sharks on Dec. 11 after a 15-16-2 start to the season.
DeBoer has coached two different teams to the Stanley Cup final, but has yet to lift the Cup. He led New Jersey to the final in 2011–12 before falling to the Los Angeles Kings, and helped the Sharks reach it in his first season in San Jose (2015-16). He has a career coaching record of 415-329-111.
He will join the Golden Knights in Ottawa and will be behind the bench when they face the Senators on Thursday night.
“In Peter DeBoer, we have a proven, experienced head coach who we believe can help us achieve our ultimate goal,” McCrimmon said. “We are excited to welcome Peter and his family to the Vegas Golden Knights organization. We look forward to a strong finish to the 2019-20 season with Peter at the helm and a successful tenure in the seasons to come.”