Pete DeBoer Fired as Golden Knights HC After 3 Seasons with Team

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 16, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 08:  Head Coach of the Vegas Golden Knights Peter DeBoer looks on from his bench during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 8, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights announced Monday that they had fired head coach Pete DeBoer.

The move comes after Vegas finished fourth in the Pacific Division and failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

General manager Kelly McCrimmon praised DeBoer's contributions during his three seasons on the bench:

"We would like to thank Pete DeBoer for his commitment to the Vegas Golden Knights over the past three seasons. Since joining the organization, Pete and his staff have guided us through some of the most unique and challenging circumstances we've witnessed since our franchise entered the NHL. After lengthy discussions over the last two weeks, we believe that a new coach will put us in the best position to succeed next season."

Kevin Weekes of ESPN reported that assistant coaches Ryan McGillis and Steve Spott were also fired.

DeBoer took over Gerard Gallant midway through the 2019-20 season. He provided immediate results, as the Golden Knights reached the conference finals, where they lost to the Dallas Stars in five games.

The 2020-21 season brought the same outcome. Vegas advanced to the Stanley Cup semifinals but fell to the Montreal Canadiens in six games.

The Golden Knights moved on from Gallant when they were fewer than two full years removed from their 2018 trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Because of that, it shouldn't come as a shock that DeBoer is now out of a job.

McCrimmon and the franchise's ownership might have looked at the coaching landscape and felt an upgrade is readily available. Barry Trotz is by far the biggest fish out there.

Matt Larkin @MLarkinHockey

Sticking with my prediction that Barry Trotz will be Vegas' next head coach.<br><br>The Golden Knights can't help themselves...they want the best, shiniest thing at all times...

The organization won't settle for mediocrity, so it stands to reason that McCrimmon would target Trotz or somebody who can match the 59-year-old's resume. Firing DeBoer and replacing him with an unproven coach wouldn't make much sense.

Whoever fills the vacancy will be expected to win immediately, just as Gallant and DeBoer did, but any early success may provide little in the way of long-term job security.

Although the Golden Knights' approach has largely worked to this point, burning through coaches at this rate might backfire over time.