John MacLean is coming back to San Jose.
According to Craig Morgan, the ex-San Jose Sharks winger — acquired with defenseman Ken Sutton from New Jersey in December 1997 for defenseman Doug Bodger and enforcer Dody Wood — is joining Bob Boughner’s coaching staff, replacing Rocky Thompson.
Since the end of his playing career in 2002, MacLean has been a mainstay behind the bench. He was a New Jersey Devils assistant coach from 2002-09, head coach of the AHL’s Lowell Devils and New Jersey from 2009-11, a Carolina Hurricanes assistant from 2011-14, and an Arizona Coyotes assistant from 2017-20.
That’s a wealth of experience — as a coach, he’s changed forwards and defense, and has overseen both the power play and the penalty kill. Thompson ran the defense and power play, so the San Jose Sharks should be well covered in his sudden absence by the versatile MacLean.
According to the San Jose Sharks, MacLean’s primary responsibilities will be working with the team’s forwards and managing the power play.
“John’s experience speaks for itself, and he checks a lot of the boxes we were hoping to fill with this role,” Boughner said in a press release. “He has won the Stanley Cup as a player and a coach and knows how to relate to today’s player. In doing our diligence for this role, I spoke with many people, and everyone had great things to say about John as both a coach and a person. I’m excited to add him to our staff and look forward to having a great training camp as we prepare to start our season.”
Fellow assistant coach John Madden worked with the forwards last year, so is Madden moving to defense? Will Boughner work with the defense more? Or is there another hire coming to the coaching staff?
Special teams results, by the way, have been mixed under MacLean in recent years. MacLean ran both the Coyotes power play (2017-2019) and penalty kill (2019-20); he oversaw the Canes PK from 2011-14.
|PP (NHL rank)||PK (NHL rank)|
Of course, let’s not take these results as gospel — putting all the blame on MacLean (or giving him all the credit) isn’t accurate and doesn’t reflect the talent he had at his disposal and other circumstances. But safe to say, the San Jose Sharks will certainly be hoping for better from their PP under MacLean.
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