Looking back at Pete DeBoer in Vegas

Pete DeBoer is back in the Western Conference Finals, a place where he's all too familiar with. Of course, he also did this with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Six
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Six / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The Vegas Golden Knights and Pete DeBoer go together like peanut butter and jelly. The two have crossed paths each time during the postseason in Golden Knights history when facing each other, with the Dallas Stars head coach winning half of the encounters. In fact, every Golden Knights season has involved the head coach in some capacity.

That's right: the Dallas Stars head coach was also the head coach for the Vegas Golden Knights, for those with short-term memory loss. In fact, he was behind the bench for three seasons with the guys in gold, taking them to two semifinal appearances. He's essentially the guy who can get you close to the Stanley Cup, with seven third-round appearances. But can he get you to that point?

That's the question DeBoer's team will have in the next round, as they await the winner between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers. Still, it's with good reason that the 55-year-old coach will finally get over the hump and win his first Stanley Cup leading a team. After all, he's got arguably one of the better teams in his franchise's history.

But it's time to stroll down memory lane and look back on his time with the Vegas Golden Knights. What style did he implement on the team? How much success did he have behind the bench? The Dallas Stars head coach has had plenty of run-ins with his former employer. Therefore, it's mandatory to see how he operated in Sin City.

What was Pete DeBoer's coaching style?

Pete DeBoer was the type of coach that wasn't too hard on his players. Essentially, that's why he was brought in to replace the then-fired Gerard Gallant. Gallant was known as a player's coach who heavily relied on his veterans to carry the load. However, that didn't help him as he failed to make key adjustments, leading to the Vegas Golden Knights being ousted in the first round of the 2018-19 playoffs by the Sharks.

Enter DeBoer, who offered a more flexible style. He was hired from San Jose to make in-game adjustments that helped his team, helping them to come back and win games. Take game three of this year's first round series as a perfect example. The Stars clogged the neutral zone and made life hard for Vegas, keeping them from advancing the puck. The result was Dallas advancing to the second round, where they defeated the Colorado Avalanche in six games.

As for his strategy, he prefers a shoot-and-pray strategy of attacking the net. The head coach prefers to be aggressive, but structured in his attack. That means getting everyone involved on offense and having equal puck distribution. Defensively, he prefers a strong forecheck where he can create turnovers.

When Gallant was in town, it was more of a relaxed style that allowed the game to flow freely. That's how DeBoer defeated him in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2019, with a simple forecheck adjustment that created turnovers and scoring opportunities. Part of his system is still in place today, with numerous two-way players contributing equally and playing sound defense.

How did Pete DeBoer do?

Overall, Pete DeBoer had a good tenure with the Vegas Golden Knights. During his three years with the team, he went 98-50-12 and earned 208 total points. That was good for a points percentage of .650%, making him an efficient head coach.

However, he was closer to .500 during the playoffs, going 22-17 with Vegas in two seasons. The 55-year-old tends to do great during the regular season, with his team, clicking on all cylinders. However, it seems his teams run out of steam in the playoffs, which is what happened when he was in Sin City.

DeBoer was fired in 2021-22 after the Golden Knights missed the playoffs that season. Finishing with 94 points and fourth in the Pacific Division wasn't enough, for they fell short of one thing: the playoffs. Out comes the former San Jose Sharks head coach and in comes Bruce Cassidy, who won the Stanley Cup the next season.

While some fans are still mad about being eliminated in the first round, some are hopeful that the current Dallas Stars head coach will win his first Stanley Cup. He's known for being a high-character figure in the NHL, which should be rewarded with a title. But will he get the one thing that eluded him in Sin City? Stay tuned.