Sharks officially name Boughner coach, drop interim label

Bob Boughner

The Sharks removed the interim tag from Bob Boughner's title on Tuesday, officially making him San Jose's head coach.

The Sharks also named Rocky Thompson as associate head coach and John Madden as assistant head coach.

Boughner, 49, led the Sharks to a 14-20-3 record in 31 games as San Jose's interim coach in 2019-20. He took over for Pete DeBoer, who was fired on Dec. 11, just over sixth months after the Sharks lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference final.

The Sharks had the worst record in the conference when the regular season was suspended on March 12 due to the spread of the coronavirus, but their play nonetheless improved under Boughner. According to Natural Stat Trick, San Jose controlled a majority of 5-on-5 shot attempts, expected goals, scoring chances and high-danger chances with Boughner at the helm as interim coach.

General manager Doug Wilson praised the job Boughner did when announcing the Sharks were lifting the interim tag.

"Bob did a tremendous job last season, getting our group back to playing with an identity and structure that we need in order to be successful," Wilson said, via press release. "We saw a marked improvement in our play in several key areas during the second half of the season, before losing some key players to injury.

"We're also very pleased to add Rocky [Thompson] and John [Madden] to our staff. Both come with a wealth of experience, both in playing the game and as teachers and leaders. With a healthy and motivated group of players, we are confident that this staff will do a terrific job leading our group in the coming years."

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Boughner was an assistant on DeBoer's staff from 2015 through 2017 before he was hired as the Florida Panthers' head coach. He went 80-62-22 in two seasons with the Panthers, rejoining the Sharks' staff ahead of last season after the Panthers fired him on April 7, 2019. 

With big-name coaches like Mike Babcock and Gerard Gallant still on the market, the Sharks opted for continuity during an indefinitely long offseason. The draft reportedly will be held on Oct. 6 and Oct. 7, with free agency set to start Oct. 9. It's unclear when the regular season will start, or what form it will take, with mass gatherings limited or outright restricted across the continent.

The Sharks last played on March 11, losing 6-2 in Chicago. When Boughner next steps behind San Jose's bench, he'll no longer carry the interim tag.