The San Jose Sharks may be looking for a new head coach in the offseason, but it might just be in their best interest to retain Bob Boughner.
The San Jose Sharks are continuing to focus on the future despite the indefinite stoppage in play. Amidst all the uncertainty in the sports world, the team does have one major point of emphasis that they can currently address — the status of the team’s next head coach.
The franchise had been under the leadership of former Florida Panthers coach Bob Boughner. While this arrangement is currently on an interim basis, recent reports seem to indicate a growing notion that general manager Doug Wilson may keep Boughtner permanently.
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Wilson stated publicly that he was impressed by the team’s play under Boughner and that he “absolutely” had the upper-hand in the process.
Here’s why the Sharks should lock up their coach for 2020 (and possibly beyond).
Boughner lead the team to a 14-20-3 record during his opportunity as the head coach in San Jose. While this mark leaves room for improvement, it is an admirable record for a coach in the midst of a mid-season transition.
The Sharks franchise was also near the bottom of the Pacific Division when they moved away from Peter DeBoer. Additionally, the team had a rash of injures to key players such as Erik Karlsson, Mario Ferraro, Tomas Hertl, and Logan Couture.
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Overall, Boughner has a 94-82 career coaching record. He led the Panthers to above .500 records in both 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.
While he was never able to punch a ticket into the postseason, he was able to find relative success for a first-time leader. The longtime NFL player has also served as a coach at the NHL level since 2009.
At the end of the day, Boughner has several things working in his favor. While he lacks the pedigree of potential options such as Peter Laviolette (18 years of coaching experience) or Mike Babcock (17 years of experience), he does have years of experience as an assistant and head coach.
On top of that, he boasts wisdom from his 16-years career as an NHL player. The 49-year-old is also young enough to grow with an up-and-coming franchise like San Jose.
Perhaps most valuable is the fact that Boughner has a familiarity with the team’s management and players. The Sharks should have an accurate understanding of what they would be getting if they removed the coach’s interim label.
They have seen his ability to teach and lead the team. They know his strengths and weaknesses. This makes him much less of a risk than other candidates.
Kevin Kurz of The Athletic has gone so far as to report that Boughner is planning on returning next season. This is an ideal scenario for both the franchise and the coach.
A reunion between these two parties will give San Jose a chance to see what Boughner can do with a full season and a healthy roster. It will also give the team much-needed stability as they await word of the state of the current season and beyond.
The move will also give Boughner a chance to prove he belongs in the rank of NHL head coaches. While the Sharks certainly won’t be content resigning in the Western Conference basement, they are also a franchise that entered the 2019-20 season with 25-1 odds of hoisting the coveted Stanley Cup.
They should provide any coach with an opportunity to be competitive without any major expectations in 2020 and 2021.
In a world of uncertainty, it makes sense to go with a sure thing. It makes sense to go with Bob Boughner.