Gerard Gallant, who coached the expansion Vegas Golden Knights to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season, was fired Wednesday by the NHL club and replaced by former San Jose coach Peter DeBoer.
Gallant went 118-75 with 20 over-time losses in three seasons guiding Vegas, taking the Knights into the playoffs in his two full campaigns with the club, falling to Washington in the 2018 final.
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The Golden Knights, who also fired assistant coach Mike Kelly, slumped to their fourth loss in a row on Tuesday, falling 4-2 at Buffalo to tumble out of playoff position in the Western Conference at 24-19-6.
“In order for our team to reach its full potential, we determined a coaching change was necessary,” Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “Our team is capable of more than we have demonstrated this season.”
Gallant became the seventh coaching change in the NHL this season.
DeBoer, who was fired by the San Jose Sharks last month, is expected to join the Golden Knights in time for their game Thursday at Ottawa. DeBoer went 15-16-2 with the Sharks this season and 198-129-34 in five seasons with San Jose, reaching the playoffs each year.
Last year, DeBoer guided a Sharks team that rallied from 3-1 down to defeat Vegas in a first-round best-of-seven series.
DeBoer has a 415-329-111 record in 12 seasons as an NHL coach with San Jose, the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers. He guided New Jersey to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, losing to Los Angeles in six games, and San Jose into the 2016 final, when the Sharks lost to Pittsburgh in six games.
“In Peter DeBoer, we have a proven, experienced head coach who we believe can help us achieve our ultimate goal,” McCrimmon said. “We look forward to a strong finish to the 2019-20 season with Peter at the helm and a successful tenure in the seasons to come.”