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3 Vegas Golden Knights head coach candidates to replace Peter DeBoer

Noah Strang
NHL: Los Angeles Kings at New York Islanders
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights suffered a disappointing end to the 2021-22 NHL season, tumbling out of a playoff spot over the final few months. This is the first time in franchise history that they’ve missed the playoffs. As a result, head coach Peter DeBoer is now out of work and a coaching search is underway.

This season marked DeBoer’s third year with the Golden Knights and it was a major step back compared to his first two. His win percentage of 57.3% was more than 15% points lower than in either 2019-20 or 2020-21. This is especially disappointing considering the midseason trade that the Golden Knights made for superstar Jack Eichel, sacrificing future assets for present-day success.

The Golden Knights are not a franchise known for their patience. After experiencing playoff success during their inaugural season, management has shown a trend of being aggressive in making changes. They’re not going to sit around and wait for things to sort themselves out. Rather, they’re going to make tough calls that move the needle. That was reflected in the decision to fire Peter DeBoer on Monday.

With DeBoer out, here are three potential Vegas Golden Knights coaching candidates.

Barry Trotz provides experience for Vegas Golden Knights

vegas golden knights, barry trotz
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest name on the coaching market this offseason is Barry Trotz. He was shockingly dismissed by the New York Islanders after a rough season despite the team having one of the worst travel schedules in recent NHL history.

He is one of the most experienced coaches in the league with almost 1200 games under his belt. He won a championship with the Washington Capitals in 2017-18 and has made it to 14 different NHL postseasons.

He’s known for installing a very defense-focused system that could benefit the Golden Knights as the team lacks a standout number one goaltender, especially with the current drama surrounding Robin Lehner. Trotz would bring a strict structure that the Golden Knights have never really used and that might be what the team needs to get over the hump.

Vegas looks for championship pedigree with Claude Julien hire

vegas golden knights hire claude julien
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Claude Julien is another veteran coach who emphasizes a defensive style that could be a good fit with the Vegas Golden Knights. He last coached in the NHL during the 2020-21 season for the Montreal Canadiens but he’s been the bench boss for over 750 games.

He’s spent the vast majority of his career so far with the Boston Bruins, coaching the team between 2007-08 and 2016-17. That tenure comprised of two trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, including a victory in 2011 against the Vancouver Canucks.

He’s not someone that’s going to have massive public angry explosions, but he is a coach that will be upfront and honest with his players. Julien will get another shot in the NHL and the Golden Knights would be smart to try to land him.

Spencer Carbery heads to the Vegas Golden Knights

If the Golden Knights wanted to go with a more out-of-the-box pick for their next head coach, Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach Spencer Carbery would be a great option. This season was Carbery’s first in the NHL though he has a long track record of success in the minor leagues.

Still just 40 years old, he has a good reputation across the hockey industry and is thought of as a rising star on the fast path to becoming an NHL head coach. He has won both an ECHL and AHL coach of the year award.

Giving Carbery his first NHL head coaching season after just one year in the NHL would be a risk for the Vegas Golden Knights. However, adding a mind and coaching talent like Carbery to the organization could make that risk be well worth it.