The Vegas Golden Knights have announced today that Head Coach Gerard Gallant has been relieved of his coaching duties, with Peter DeBoer named the new Head Coach of the team.
In what was absolutely stunning and, quite frankly, jaw-dropping news on Wednesday, the Vegas Golden Knights have changed things in a huge way.
Assistant Coach Mike Kelly has also been relieved of his duties, while DeBoer will join up with the Knights on Thursday in Ottawa prior to their matchup against the Senators.
Of course, we will provide you with insight, opinion and analysis on these shocking turn of events throughout the day but, for now, let’s stick to facts.
The Golden Knights have made the following coaching changes:
Gerard Gallant & Mike Kelly have been relieved of their coaching duties
Peter DeBoer has been named head coachhttps://t.co/rQsULKgYzR
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 15, 2020
After dropping four straight, including a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, Gallant has been removed from his position along with Kelly, who have both been at the helm since Vegas entered the NHL in 2017.
Vegas Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon released this statement per nhl.com/goldenknights:
“In order for our team to reach its full potential, we determined a coaching change was necessary. 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.”
Gallant, who had previously been the Head Coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Florida Panthers, led the Vegas Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017-18 following a stunning inaugural year.
As a result, Gallant was awarded the Jack Adams Trophy after being crowned the NHL Coach of the Year.
He then led the Knights to the postseason again in their sophomore year, only to suffer a disappointing and heartbreaking exit to bitter rivals the San Jose Sharks in the First Round.
However, boasting a talented roster with a strong core at his disposal, Gallant led his team into 2019-20 with high expectations for another deep postseason run.
But, due to a combination of injuries, a lack of secondary scoring, poor goaltending at times and a less than stellar defense, the Golden Knights have punched below their weight for much of this year.
And, after dropping four straight and slipping to 24-19-6 on the year, the front office obviously decided enough was enough and that a new voice in the locker room was needed.
In total, Gallant carved out a record of 118-75-20 in two-and-a-half seasons with the Vegas Golden Knights, which translates to a .601 winning percentage.
But in sports life must goes on and in comes Peter DeBoer who was most recently the Head Coach of the San Jose Sharks, the bitter rivals of the Golden Knights.
DeBoer and Gallant clashed during the postseason last year, while Vegas fans were incensed at DeBoer and the Sharks following THAT controversial call on Cody Eakin in Game 7.
However, Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon obviously felt that DeBoer, who carved out a 198-129-34 record in San Jose over a five-season span before being fired by the Sharks on Dec. 11 after a 15-16-2 start, was the right man for the job.
Speaking to nhl.com/goldenknights, McCrimmon had this to say on his first Head Coach hiring as GM of the Golden Knights:
“In Peter DeBoer, we have a proven, experienced head coach who we believe can help us achieve our ultimate goal. 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.”
DeBoer, who has also coached the New Jersey Devils and the Florida Panthers, has a coaching record of 415-329-111 and he took both the Devils and the San Jose Sharks to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012 and 2016 respectively.
DeBoer obviously knows the Pacific Division well having coached the Sharks for the last five seasons, and maybe that was the main attraction for the Vegas front office.
But, for now, this is a stunning turn of events no matter which way you slice it and we should know more later when Vegas Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon holds a news conference in Ottawa.
And, make sure you stick with Vegas Hockey Knight throughout the day as we try and make sense of this shocking move.