The Vegas Golden Knights fired Gerard Gallant, their first-ever coach, on Wednesday and named former San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer as his replacement.
Gallant, 56, led the expansion Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in 2018 to culminate their first NHL season; Vegas lost in five games to the Washington Capitals. Overall, Gallant’s teams were 118-75-20 in two-plus seasons, including a 24-19-6 record this season.
The team also announced the firing of assistant coach Mike Kelly.
“In order for our team to reach its full potential, we determined a coaching change was necessary,” Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said in a team statement. “Our team is capable of more than we have demonstrated this season.
“We would like to thank Gerard and Mike for their service to the Vegas Golden Knights. 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.”
DeBoer was fired by San Jose on Dec. 11. He is expected to be on the bench Thursday when the Golden Knights face the Senators in Ottawa.
DeBoer, 51, led the Sharks to the only Stanley Cup Final appearance in team history, when they lost in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016. He compiled a 198-129-34 regular-season mark in 4 1/2 seasons on the job, plus a 32-28 playoff record.
San Jose reached the postseason in each of DeBoer’s full seasons on the bench, including an appearance in the Western Conference finals last season, when the Sharks lost in six games to the eventual league champion St. Louis Blues.
DeBoer previously coached the Florida Panthers (2008-11) and the New Jersey Devils (2011-12 through part of the 2014-15 season). He guided the Devils to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, which they lost in six games to the Los Angeles Kings. His overall coaching record is 415-329-111 in the regular season, 46-38 in the postseason.
“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.”
This marks the seventh NHL head-coaching change this season. Bill Peters resigned in Calgary and Mike Babcock was fired in Toronto in November. John Hynes was fired in New Jersey and Jim Montgomery in Dallas in December. And last week, the Nashville Predators fired Peter Laviolette.
—Field Level Media