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Sheng’s Daily: Defending Peter DeBoer



Credit: NBC

Can you name the highest-drafted goalie in San Jose Sharks history?

Yesterday at San Jose Hockey Now, I looked at San Jose’s goaltending drafting history and how it compares with the rest of the league:

Sharks Have Been Leading on This Current Draft Trend Since ’90s

The Sharks don’t draft goalies high — and that’s by design.

In other San Jose Sharks news…

Kevin Kurz offered some insight on what happened between UFA Joe Pavelski and the San Jose Sharks last summer: Simply, they were really far apart. So far apart, I’m not sure if the Sharks even made him an actual offer, as Pavelski suggested to me earlier this year. (Kevin Kurz)

Speaking of Pavelski…

What’s the most iconic picture in Sharks history? (Locked On Sharks)

Around the NHL…

There’s some perception now that Peter DeBoer has, on the whole, underachieved as a head coach.

As Justin Bourne wrote yesterday, “Peter DeBoer’s 12-year coaching career, most specifically the years in San Jose, seem fairly categorized as ‘talented team that couldn’t quite get over the hump.’ ”

Frankly, I’m baffled by this take. If you bother to look, every season, every failure has a different story, and most had very little to do with “a guy who struggled to get teams over the hump.”

Bourne did point out, correctly, that DeBoer’s Florida and New Jersey teams weren’t necessarily the most talented. Even then, he took the 2012 Devils to the Final. Moving on to San Jose…

In 2015-16, DeBoer took a San Jose Sharks that had missed the playoffs the year before — many thought the Sharks were done as true Cup contenders — to the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup Final. Sure, they lost to Pittsburgh, but does anybody think San Jose had the superior squad there? If anything, they overachieved by reaching the championship round.

In 2016-17, DeBoer lost in the first round to the Edmonton Oilers. You might count that as an underachievement, but this was a good-not-great Sharks squad. Also, Joe Thornton played on a torn MCL and ACL in this series, missing two games.

In 2017-18, DeBoer lost in the second round to the Vegas Golden Knights. I was covering Vegas that year, and in my opinion, San Jose gave the Golden Knights the toughest test of any squad in the West — remember that Vegas swept Los Angeles and beat Winnipeg in five in the Western Conference Finals. The expansion side was simply playing inspired team hockey that season.

In 2018-19, DeBoer indeed had a loaded team. I’ll accept that they underachieved in the regular season — they should’ve won the Pacific. But in the playoffs, they were undermined by significant injuries: Erik Karlsson, Joe Pavelski, and Tomas Hertl all missed the decisive Game Six of the Western Conference Finals. It’s also worth noting that Karlsson, who managed to skate in all but one of San Jose’s playoff games, had been playing hurt since January of that year.

In 2019-20…well, the less said about this year’s Sharks, the better. But I assume it wasn’t DeBoer’s idea to start the season with Danil Yurtaykin and Lean Bergmann on his top two lines. This wasn’t a very good San Jose squad.

This brings us to this edition of the Golden Knights, who indeed were the superior team to the Stars, and should be on their way to the Stanley Cup Final. They also appeared healthy enough. So did Vegas underachieve this season? Sure.

But to say DeBoer’s career can be “categorized” as underachieving is plain wrong.

Panthers assistant coach Mike Kitchen has been let go after a physical altercation with a player. (Florida Hockey Now)

Marc-Andre Fleury has submitted a 10-team No-Trade list. (Vegas Hockey Now)

For once, the Islanders are the talk of the town. (NYI Hockey Now)

Is Matt Murray the right fit for the Avs? (Colorado Hockey Now)

Check out Dan Kingerski’s Top-10 Pittsburgh prospects. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

Andrew Berkshire on how the Stars were able to upset the Golden Knights. (Sportsnet)

Jonas Brodin signs a seven-year, $42 million dollar extension. Does this mean that Matt Dumba’s days in Minnesota are numbered? (Hockey Wilderness)

UFA Braden Holtby is expected to test the market. (Washington Post)

Peter Laviolette is Washington’s new head coach. (Japers’ Rink)

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