It appears that the Sharks will have an opening on their coaching staff very shortly.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzine, the Florida Panthers will hire Sharks assistant coach Bob Boughner to be their new head coach, “barring any last minute hiccups.”
It was revealed in early May that the Panthers had received permission from the Sharks to interview Boughner for the position. The Buffalo Sabres were also reportedly interested in Boughner, who has been as assistant coach under Pete DeBoer in San Jose for the past two seasons.
The job will be Boughner’s first head coaching job in the NHL, starting in the same place that DeBoer did from 2008-09 through 2010-11.
Boughner, who was up for the Colorado Avalanche job last summer before they eventually chose Jared Bednar, said before the start of the 2016-17 season that he would like to become an NHL head coach at some point.
“I think that’s the end game to be a head coach in this league,” Boughner said last September.
The 46-year-old former NHL defenseman was primarily in charge of the Sharks’ defense and penalty kill. The Sharks surrendered 2.52 goals-per game in 2015-16 (10th in the NHL) and 2.44 goals-per game in 2017-18 (fifth in the NHL). Their penalty kill was 21st in the NHL in Boughner’s first season (80.5 percent), and 18th this past year (80.7 percent).
Norris Trophy favorite Brent Burns offen credited Boughner for helping him transition back to the blue line and become the dominant all-around player he is now.
Boughner will be taking over a Florida team that missed the playoffs this season, finishing sixth in the Atlantic Division (35-36-11, 81 points). The Panthers fired Gerard Gallant on Nov. 28, replacing him with interim coach and then-general manager Tom Rowe. Since the conclusion of the season, Dale Tallon has resumed general manager duties while Rowe has taken on an advisory role.
Prior to joining the Sharks, Boughner was the head coach of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires for eight seasons, leading them to Memorial Cup championships in 2009 and 2010. He was named as the OHL/CHL coach of the year in 2008 and 2009, and was an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11. Boughner played 630 games over 10 NHL seasons as a defenseman with the Sabres, Predators, Penguins, Flames, Hurricanes and Avalanche.
Boughner would become the third active Sharks assistant coach to leave the team to take over the head coaching job of another club (Wayne Cashman, Flyers, 1997; Todd Richards, Minnesota, 2009).
The Sharks also lost director of player personnel Larry Robinson this offseason, as Robinson's contract was not renewed. Like Boughner, the legendary Hall of Fame defenseman also worked with the organization's blueliners.