Now he’s ready to try and spark the only playoff team attack he’s outdone during the 2021-22 regular season.
“I was rocked by a Vegas car,” Deborah said during his opening press conference on Wednesday, seated next to General Manager Jim Neal with Captain Jimmy Bean in attendance.
“I think as a veteran coach and coach they’ve been through before, you lick your wounds for a few days, and think about what you could have done differently,” he said. “Then the phone starts ringing and you start diving into interested teams and you start getting excited again.”
It made sense that DeBoer, 54, wouldn’t wait for his fifth chance as a head coach in the NHL. The shooting in Vegas bothered him because he thought the coaching staff kept his hopes alive longer than expected in an injury-strewn season.
Besides, DeBoer did not take a year off between other terms. In fact, he was hired by Vegas in the same season he launched the San Jose Sharks (2019-20), and he led the Golden Knights to the Western Conference Final in the Canadian playoff bubble before losing to Dallas.
DeBoer, whose first job as an NHL head coach was with Florida, reached the Stanley Cup Final twice in his first season—with the New Jersey Devils in 2011-12 and with San Jose four years later. His demons lost to the Kings of Los Angeles, and the sharks lost to the Penguins of Pittsburgh. Since Neal believes Dallas has a capable roster for such a run, he said that decision was an easy one.
“I’m a big appeal guy,” Neil said. “This is a tough league and it’s hard to train in and you have to be able to handle situations. I know Pete can do that.”
The Superstars want to score more goals without sacrificing the defensive structure that was the priority under Rick Bowness, who led Dallas to the Stanley Cup Final in the bubble as interim coach before securing a two-year contract.
After losing overtime to Calgary in Game Seven of the first round, the 67-year-old Bowness said he’s walking away.
Dallas had the second highest scoring streak in franchise history with Jason Robertson, the fourth 40-goal goal scorer in all-star history, and Rob Hintz and Joe Pavlesky, the 38-year-old who captained DeBoer with the Sharks and . She signed a one-year extension with Dallas during the season.
The problem was the higher-paid players, and strikers who had previously scored high, in Ben and Tyler Seguin.
Benn had only 18 goals and an under-13 rating was the worst in his 13 seasons in the NHL. Seguin, a six-time All-Star who missed all but three matches in 2020-21 due to a ruptured hip and knee surgery, was -21 – with 24 goals (49 points). Seguin played the end of the season against Calgary with a broken left foot bone.
“I don’t think it’s a secret,” Debor said. “We want to open up some offensive games for this group. What can we do better in terms of gameplay in order to be better? The second thing is, individually, what single player can we benefit from the most and what is the plan to do that? Sometimes combined with the style of play.”
Dallas has one of the league’s best young defenders in Miro Heskanen, who will turn 23 next month. When the season begins, he will be the same age as goalkeeper Jake Oettinger, whose breakout season ended with a fine showing against Calgary.
Anton Khodubin, the 36-year-old with one year remaining on his contract, should be healthy again next season, and Debor has a history of giving veteran goalkeepers another chance after being away from them.
“Like all young goalkeepers, you have to calm down on that. We all saw what he did in the playoffs,” Debor said of Oettinger, who played at Boston University with Debor’s son. “She’s following it up next year. Our responsibility, as coaches and as a team, is to make sure we maintain that foundation and structure around it.”
Neil, 64, only hired DeBoer for one year on his own contract, but the coach said he had received assurances from owner Tom Gaglardi that Neil would be “a part of this while I’m here”. Neal said he had intended to become GM for several years and had been working with Gaglardi on a succession plan.
“I think when you get out of this organization and you get an outside perspective and you look at the crafting and the young talent coming in and the mix of veterans and youth, the future of this organization is really bright,” DeBoer said. . “That’s a huge part of Jim and what he does, so that was a huge piece for me.”
DeBoer’s first stop as an NHL coach was with the Florida Panthers, the team he captained from 2008-2011.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.