Fantasy Take: Boughner Out as Sharks Coach

Ian Gooding

2022-07-01

The San Jose Sharks have terminated head coach Bob Boughner as well as three assistant coaches.

The timing of this decision seems unusual, since the Sharks have still not yet hired a general manager. However, it's possible that the Sharks have shortlisted candidates that have indicated that they would like to bring in their own coach, so why delay the inevitable?

After a long run as a playoff team, the Sharks have missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, with Boughner behind the bench all three seasons (took over partway through the first season). Usually that's enough time for a team to determine that significant changes to the core are needed. However, years of contending resulted in key players being rewarded for past performance. As a result, the Sharks are now hamstrung with several inefficient contracts that will take years to clean up when they realize they need a true rebuild. Although how “inefficient” these contracts are will vary, here are some examples:

Erik Karlsson: 5 more years, $11.5 million cap hit

Logan Couture: 5 more years, $8 million cap hit

Brent Burns: 3 more years, $8 million cap hit

Marc-Edouard Vlasic: 4 more years, $7 million cap hit

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All of these players are at least 32 years of age. In addition, the Sharks' decision to extend Tomas Hertl by eight years ($8 million cap hit) only pushed the rebuild further down the road. This also begs the question about what to do with Timo Meier, who has one year remaining on his contract. Don't forget that the Sharks are also paying the bill on the Martin Jones buyout for five more seasons (between $1.67 million and $2.9 million per season).

Of course, these contracts have more to do with the general manager than the coach. Yet it's the coach who has to maximize the talent provided on the roster. It's difficult to truly say whether Boughner did that. Whoever the new GM will be will have their work cut out for them, while the new coach will likely have a difficult time meeting the expectations of Sharks management.

We'd have to wait and see what a new coach will do to the Sharks roster, if there's much that they can do. Remove one of Burns or Karlsson from the first-unit power play? Both are right-shot defensemen at a time when most PP1 units feature four forwards and one defenseman. Could William Eklund force his way onto that spot on the first-unit power play? These are just a couple of questions that fantasy players could be interested in.