Sharks

Report: Boughner to leave Sharks, become Panthers head coach

Report: Boughner to leave Sharks, become Panthers head coach

It appears that the Sharks will have an opening on their coaching staff very shortly.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzine, the Florida Panthers will hire Sharks assistant coach Bob Boughner to be their new head coach, “barring any last minute hiccups.”

It was revealed in early May that the Panthers had received permission from the Sharks to interview Boughner for the position. The Buffalo Sabres were also reportedly interested in Boughner, who has been as assistant coach under Pete DeBoer in San Jose for the past two seasons.

The job will be Boughner’s first head coaching job in the NHL, starting in the same place that DeBoer did from 2008-09 through 2010-11.

Boughner, who was up for the Colorado Avalanche job last summer before they eventually chose Jared Bednar, said before the start of the 2016-17 season that he would like to become an NHL head coach at some point.

“I think that’s the end game to be a head coach in this league,” Boughner said last September.

The 46-year-old former NHL defenseman was primarily in charge of the Sharks’ defense and penalty kill. The Sharks surrendered 2.52 goals-per game in 2015-16 (10th in the NHL) and 2.44 goals-per game in 2017-18 (fifth in the NHL). Their penalty kill was 21st in the NHL in Boughner’s first season (80.5 percent), and 18th this past year (80.7 percent).

Norris Trophy favorite Brent Burns offen credited Boughner for helping him transition back to the blue line and become the dominant all-around player he is now.

Boughner will be taking over a Florida team that missed the playoffs this season, finishing sixth in the Atlantic Division (35-36-11, 81 points). The Panthers fired Gerard Gallant on Nov. 28, replacing him with interim coach and then-general manager Tom Rowe. Since the conclusion of the season, Dale Tallon has resumed general manager duties while Rowe has taken on an advisory role.

Prior to joining the Sharks, Boughner was the head coach of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires for eight seasons, leading them to Memorial Cup championships in 2009 and 2010. He was named as the OHL/CHL coach of the year in 2008 and 2009, and was an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11. Boughner played 630 games over 10 NHL seasons as a defenseman with the Sabres, Predators, Penguins, Flames, Hurricanes and Avalanche.

Boughner would become the third active Sharks assistant coach to leave the team to take over the head coaching job of another club (Wayne Cashman, Flyers, 1997; Todd Richards, Minnesota, 2009).

The Sharks also lost director of player personnel Larry Robinson this offseason, as Robinson's contract was not renewed. Like Boughner, the legendary Hall of Fame defenseman also worked with the organization's blueliners.

Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’

patty-ap.jpg
AP

Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’

SAN JOSE — There was something familiar missing in San Jose when the Sharks opened training camp.

For the first time since 1996, the Sharks took the ice for their first training camp practice without Patrick Marleau on the team as the franchise's career leader in games and scoring left as a free agent for Toronto this summer.

"I've spent a lot of years with him. It is kind of strange," said Joe Thornton, who came to San Jose in 2005. "It's his birthday today too. It's a little weird, but he's going to do great up in Toronto."

Marleau had been with San Jose since being picked second overall in 1997 but left the Sharks to sign an $18.75 million, three-year deal with the Maple Leafs in July.

Marleau has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points. He had 46 points in playing all 82 games last season as he rebounded from a disappointing 2015-16 season by scoring 27 goals, including the 500th of his career. He ranks first in San Jose in career goals, games and points.

Only six players in NHL history have played more games with one team than Marleau's 1,493 in San Jose. The Sharks haven't played a game without him on the ice since April 7, 2009.

"Obviously Patty has meant so much to this organization and this group," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Everyone in this room has pretty much played with him and Patty has done something to help them out. He'll be missed. ... Just by committee somebody will step in and fill that kind of hole. That's what we'll need."

The Sharks made no major additions this offseason so will need to replace Marleau's 27 goals by getting development from younger players like Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Danny O'Regan, as well as bounce-back seasons from veterans like Thornton, Mikkel Boedker and Joonas Donskoi.

Only Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns are back after scoring more than 12 goals last season.

"When I look back at last year we had key people either have down years or miss significant time with injuries or coming off injuries," coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think if we can stay healthy I think we've got a large group of guys that can really take a step this year and I expect a step out of them."

While the Sharks lost Marleau in free agency, they did manage to keep Thornton by giving him a one-year, $8 million contract despite dwindling production last season and offseason knee surgery.

He scored just seven goals — his fewest in an 82-game season since his rookie year in 1997-98 — and was a key part of a power-play unit that uncharacteristically struggled last season. But he still managed 43 assists, teaming with captain Joe Pavelski on San Jose's top line.

Thornton missed the final week of the regular season and the first two playoff games with a left knee injury before returning for the final four games of a first-round loss to Edmonton. Thornton then underwent surgery to repair his MCL and ACL after the season but was back skating in August and started ramping it up for training camp two weeks ago. Thornton believes the lower-body work he did in rehab this offseason will pay dividends on the ice.

"They feel real strong," he said of his legs. "I feel a lot of pop out there. They're probably as strong as they've ever been just because I had to rehab that knee so much."

Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks

joe-pavelski-sharks.jpg

Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks

The boys were back together in San Jose on Thursday for Sharks Media Day, with plenty of smiles and moments of levity. Check out the highlights...

Hey Jumbo, you dropped something. 👖🤷‍♂️

A post shared by San Jose Sharks (@sanjosesharks) on

Martin Jones is pretty good at photobombs 📸💣

A post shared by San Jose Sharks (@sanjosesharks) on

🤳 Media Day #SJSharks

A post shared by San Jose Sharks (@sanjosesharks) on

New season. New commercials. 🕉🚌📺 #ComingSoon #SharksForLife

A post shared by San Jose Sharks (@sanjosesharks) on