Boogie on, Bob Boughner.
Per Pierre LeBrun, Boughner’s interim head coach tag will officially be taken off in the next week or two.
Of course, we’ve presumed this would be the case for some time.
The better question is, who will Boughner’s assistant coaches be?
It’s been reported that Rocky Thompson will be added to Boughner’s coaching staff. The presumption is that he’ll work with the forwards and the power play — San Jose Hockey Now has already written three articles on the subject:
But who will coach the San Jose Sharks defense?
As with all things, it might be who you know. Thompson, for example, was head coach of the 2017 Memorial Cup-winning Windsor Spitfires. The Spitfires owner? None other than Bob Boughner.
With that in mind — and allowing, of course, that the San Jose Sharks might hire outside of the box — here are some interesting Boughner-adjacent candidates to consider.
The connection with Bob is obvious here.
When Peter DeBoer was fired in December, Mike Ricci, Sommer, and Evgeni Nabokov were promoted to the NHL. Under interim head coach Bob Boughner, Ricci handled the forwards, Sommer the defense, and Nabokov the goaltending.
What was somewhat peculiar about this arrangement was career forward Sommer, better known for being the head coach of San Jose’s AHL affiliate for 22 years, had never specifically coached defensemen (at least in the last 22 years).
My guess, if Sommer stays in the NHL, he won’t be coaching the defense anymore.
Capuano is currently an associate coach for the Ottawa Senators and held the same role under Boughner in Florida, running the defensemen and the penalty kill.
However, going to San Jose would appear to be a lateral move for the former Islanders head coach.
Capuano, who’s still under contract with the Senators, confirmed himself to San Jose Hockey Now that he wouldn’t be going to San Jose.
Capuano added, however, that he enjoyed working with Boughner with the Panthers. Was there ever any conflict, considering both Boughner and Capuano come from a defensive background?
“He didn’t micro-manage me,” Capuano said. “He’s going to hire a guy that he has trust and faith in, who’s detail-oriented. A good teacher. And a good communicator, especially with Burns and Karlsson there.”
Jones is also on head coach D.J. Smith’s staff in Ottawa.
Both Smith and Jones coached under Boughner in Windsor. Jones was Boughner’s associate coach with the Spitfires from 2011-15, before Boughner joined Peter DeBoer’s San Jose Sharks staff in 2015-16.
Obviously, Smith isn’t going anywhere right now. As mentioned, a move to San Jose would be a lateral move for Capuano. But Jones?
Jones is an assistant coach, but he’s currently in an “eye in the sky” role. He’s coached defensemen before — as recently as 2018-19, for the Texas Stars.
The 50-year-old has certainly paid his dues too: He began his coaching career in the OHL in 1995, was head coach of both the Spitfires and Oshawa Generals. He’s been in the AHL and the NHL for the last two years.
So directly handling the San Jose Sharks defense would certainly be a step up.
However, as far as I know, the Senators aren’t making any changes to their coaching staff at the moment.
Weber has coached Windsor’s defensemen for the last three years under Trevor Letowski.
However, the 32-year-old might be too green to be considered for the NHL. The Spitfires are his first coaching gig. But perhaps there’s appeal in his youth.
Weber, who last played defense in the NHL in 2015-16 — and is actually younger than 35-year-old Brent Burns — should certainly be able to relate to today’s player.
Admittedly, this is all speculation on my part.
It could be someone from the DeBoer tree who comes in to run the San Jose Sharks defense? Somebody who Karlsson, Burns, or Marc-Edouard Vlasic has a particular affinity for? Somebody that Hall of Fame defenseman Doug Wilson stumps for? Or somebody completely outside the box?
But we’ve pretty much known that Boughner and Nabokov are coming back for months. That Thompson was coming in.
But there’s one, possibly two more assistant coach gigs up for grabs in San Jose.
Agent on UFA Gridlock, Gambrell & Kellman on Jumbo’s Departure
The free agency gridlock is real — and according to an agent, there’s no end in the sight.
It’s not just the money being handed out, or lack thereof, it’s also the rush, or lack thereof, to sign guys.
To illustrate, 19 days into free agency, six of TSN’s final top-20 free agents are still on the board: Mike Hoffman, Erik Haula, Corey Perry, Mikael Granlund, Anthony Duclair, and Sami Vatanen.
Last summer, just two of TSN’s top-20 were available after 12 days of free agency: Ben Hutton and Jake Gardiner.
“The length of time until the season starts is probably affecting [this off-season’s free agents],” an agent told San Jose Hockey Now. “There’s not much rush right now since who knows when NHL camps even open?”
This is on top of revenue concerns that every organization is facing.
So the teams are in no rush to commit — and in some cases, the players aren’t either.
This particular agent agreed that players might see better offers once there’s more certainty with when the 2020-21 season will begin.
So while we know there are multiple teams in on the likes of Hoffman, Haula, and Conor Sheary, it might be a while yet before all these dominos fall.
No Conor Sheary Update
Speaking of Sheary, San Jose Hockey Now broke last week that the San Jose Sharks were talking to his camp.
At the moment, however, SJHN doesn’t have an additional Sheary update.
That’s no surprise. It is, after all, an unusually stagnant market.
Gambrell, Kellman on Thornton
A week and a half ago, when Joe Thornton left the San Jose Sharks for Toronto, San Jose Hockey Now reached out to a few Sharks to ask them about Jumbo’s departure.
Kevin Labanc was quick to reply; over the last week, a couple more Sharks have responded.
Dylan Gambrell texted: “Huge loss, big presence, and has been such a key piece for the Sharks for a very long time. Someone I looked up to very much and learned a ton from.
“I wish him nothing but the best and you can ask just about anyone how much he’ll be missed. With that said, it’s up to us as a team to step up and make up for that presence going forward and I know we have the guys in the locker room to do that.”
Gambrell, who the San Jose Sharks hope can step up to help fill Thornton’s void on the ice, has spent most of the last half-year in Denver. The 24-year-old forward plans to be in San Jose in about a week, to join the likes of Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, and Labanc, who have been skating together.
Meanwhile, over 5,000 miles away, Joel Kellman won’t be back soon — he’s playing for Allsvenskan’s Kristianstads IK right now.
Kellman messaged SJHN about the San Jose Sharks legend: “I was so happy I got to play with him for a couple months! He was just a true professional, always working hard on and off the ice. That’s why he’s been good for so many years.”
Meeting Mr. Robins
Erik and JD look into the second of the San Jose Sharks’ two second-round draft picks, Tristen Robbins. We review his statistical profile and where he lands on some draft models. Then, we look at his tape to determine his strengths and weaknesses (8:00) as well as why his numbers exploded over the second half of the season. We finish by looking at his timeline for making the NHL (18:00). Check out the podcast on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
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