Sharks

Sharks bring back Bob Boughner to coaching staff; Rob Zettler let go

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AP

Sharks bring back Bob Boughner to coaching staff; Rob Zettler let go

SAN JOSE - The Sharks are welcoming a familiar face back to the South Bay which is sure to make players, coaches and fans alike happy.

Team Teal announced Wednesday morning that Bob Boughner will be returning to the team as an assistant coach. Boughner was previously on the Sharks' coaching staff before from 2015 to 2017 before serving as the Florida Panthers' bench boss for the last two seasons. 

"Bob already has strong relationships with many of our key players and we expect that he will reintegrate himself into our organization seamlessly," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement.

Boughner is a familiar presence with many Sharks on the current roster. He worked with the team's defensemen, and Brent Burns credited Boughner for his role in the blue liner's first career Norris Trophy win in 2016-17. 

"I'm extremely excited that Bob has chosen to re-join our staff in San Jose," DeBoer said in a statement. "He and I have known each other for more than 20 years and we're very familiar with all the intangibles that he brings to our team."

In two seasons in south Florida, Boughner led the Panthers to an 80-62-22 record. Florida missed the postseason by a point in 2018, but didn't have the same success in Boughner's second season.  The Panthers fired Boughner in April, and replaced him with Joel Quenneville a day later. 

Boughner's firing prompted a strong reaction from one notable Sharks player. 

Not surprisingly, Boughner is excited to return to San Jose.

[RELATED: Donskoi wants to re-sign with Sharks, but will he be back?]

"I'm very happy and proud to be re-joining the Sharks family," he said in the team's press release. "I want to thank Hasso Plattner and the ownership group, Doug and Pete for their loyalty and I look forward to getting to work and building off a very successful season that saw the Sharks come within two wins of returning to the Stanley Cup Final."

In related news, the Sharks announced that Rob Zettler will not return to the team next season. Zettler was an assistant in San Jose this past year, and began the season working with the team's defensemen. In December, he became the team's "eye in the sky" in the press box as part of a shuffling of the coaching staff's responsibilities. 

Sharks' Stefan Noesen dealing with extra uncertainty in coronavirus pandemic

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AP

Sharks' Stefan Noesen dealing with extra uncertainty in coronavirus pandemic

Sharks forward Stefan Noesen is isolating with immediate family in his home state of Texas during the coronavirus pandemic.

And he’s slightly bored.

“You can only do so many lunges at your house, so many laps around the neighborhood,” Noesen said with a laugh in a 1-on-1 interview with NBC Sports California on Tuesday.

The NHL’s suspended season is par for the uphill course of Noesen's current campaign.

It began with a professional tryout in the Dallas Stars organization, which didn’t pan out. He then played 22 AHL games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, which led to signing a two-way contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 2nd. They waived him shortly before Christmas.

“This year has been a s---t-show, legit,” Noesen said. “Up until being with the Sharks.”

That turning point definitely happened in San Jose. Even during the Sharks' down season, Noesen came in and earned a role, plus the respect to go along with it.

“First thing I did when I got (to San Jose), was meet with [general manager Doug Wilson],” Noesen said. “He told me what he expected of me, which was honestly nothing but to go out and play my game.”

That game resonated, with Noesen scoring six goals in 34 games. And now, there's a lot of fans who would like to see him re-signed for next season.

“I’ve always believed it’s not that hard to be a good guy,” Noesen said. “All you have to got is be yourself, treat others with respect, and find a way to get along with everybody.”

[RELATED: Sharks' restocked draft picks, college signings offer hope]

There's a lot of uncertainty for Noesen’s career at this point, like when and where he will play hockey next. But these life-changing times have also even made him ponder what comes after the game.

“The world has kind of taken things for granted up until now,” Noesen said. “And I think everyone is kind of taking a step back and realizing the little things are actually important.

“The minute that we’re able to go back to whatever life is after this, I think it will be interesting.“

Sharks suddenly in better position with draft picks, college signings

Sharks suddenly in better position with draft picks, college signings

Given the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we could all use a bit of a pick-me-up right now. It's understandably difficult, but focusing on what bright spots there are will help us get through this unprecedented time.

Taking the glass-half-full approach shouldn't be new to Sharks fans. They had a few months head start before the team's disappointing season was indefinitely paused.

Yes, it was clear early on that it was going to be a tough season in San Jose. The Sharks dropped their first four games of the season, and turned to former captain Patrick Marleau to get back on track. After a strong November, San Jose undid it all with a putrid December, and at that point, it became easy to focus on all of the things the franchise didn't have. The most notable absence was that of hope.

One by one, the Sharks' best players went down with severe season-ending injuries. One of them -- Erik Karlsson -- was like a double punch to the gut. Not only would San Jose not have the benefit of having the former Norris Trophy winner in the lineup, but the cost it took to acquire him -- including the Sharks' unprotected 2020 first-round draft pick -- looked disproportionally painful. Every team in the league would have made that trade for Karlsson -- and signed him to the same eight-year contract extension -- but nearly everything that occurred from that point on was a string of bad luck for San Jose.

There was an upside to losing all of those top players, though. Whatever lingering hopes of a playoff run existed soon went out the window. The Sharks and general manager Doug Wilson could turn their attention to the future, and that's exactly what they did.

In sending Brenden Dillon to the Washington Capitals, Marleau to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Barclay Goodrow to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the trade deadline, Wilson overhauled the Sharks' cupboard of draft picks in both quality and quantity. He acquired four picks -- including a 2020 first-rounder -- that will fall within the first three rounds, and San Jose now has seven selections in each of the next three drafts.

Those will come in very handy as the Sharks try to get back into contention -- and stay there. Sustained success is built through young, controllable assets, and the draft is the best way to acquire them.

That said, there are always some prospects that fall between the cracks. Brinson Pasichnuk was one such prospect who was never drafted, yet became one of the best players throughout all of NCAA Division I hockey. The Arizona State standout agreed to join the Sharks organization, Wilson announced Tuesday, adding to San Jose's collection of promising young defensemen, including Mario Ferraro and Ryan Merkley.

[RELATED: Sharks' Ferraro moved in with parents during NHL pause]

Shortly after Pasichnuck agreed to join the Sharks, Hobey Baker Award finalist John Leonard did the same. Leonard, San Jose's sixth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, tallied 105 points over 106 career games at UMass Amherst. He had the option of returning to school for his senior season, but had little left to prove at the collegiate level. While he isn't a new prospect to the Sharks' system, it's nonetheless a positive development for San Jose.

Two months ago, the Sharks' future appeared as bleak as it had in nearly two decades. Since then, however, they've taken several steps in the right direction, and there is considerably more reason for hope.

We can all use a little of that right now.