Pete DeBoer has been a head coach in the NHL since 2008. He’s stood behind the bench of four different teams while coaching 965 regular season games. He’s brought two different teams to the Stanley Cup Final, has been to the Conference Final five times, and has coached 123 playoff games.
Add it all up and it’s fair to say DeBoer has seen and done pretty much everything as a coach except for that one ultimate thing.
The plan this year is for him to tick that final box and to do it he’ll have to guide another stacked Golden Knights team through the rest of this regular season and then past four different opponents in the playoffs. It’s that last part where he really becomes the focal point.
But let’s start with the regular season, where DeBoer has been nothing short of dominant as the coach of the Golden Knights. He’s led VGK to a 75-31-4 record good for a .700 points percentage or a 115 point regular season pace.
Thanks to some help from MoreHockeyStats.com, we can see that DeBoer has not only dominated most Pacific Division coaches while in Vegas, but over his entire career (except for one).
Dallas Eakins (ANA): 12-4
Bob Boughner (SJS): 9-3
Dave Hakstol (SEA): 8-2
Darryl Suter (CGY): 14-10
Todd McLellan (LAK): 20-18
Dave Tippett (EDM): 11-12
Bruce Boudreau (VAN): 14-24
Eakins, Hakstol, and Boughner are the coaches he’s been most successful against in the Pacific, but they all pale in comparison to DeBoer’s 9-win advantage on Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar. This brings us to the postseason.
It’s in the playoffs that coaching takes on its most importance. Scheming and preparing a team on exactly how to beat your opponent and then adjusting as the series goes on is what takes coaches from good to great to legendary. We’ve seen both sides of it with DeBoer’s plan dominating the Avalanche while it fell apart against Dallas and Montreal.
DeBoer has led the Golden Knights to four postseason series victories and a record of 22-17 before bowing out to a pair of interim coaches in Rick Bowness of the Stars and Dominique Ducharme of the Canadiens.
Obviously, Boudreau’s name pops off the page as the new frontman of the Vancouver Canucks. The two have never faced off in a playoff series, but DeBoer’s 14-24 record vs. Boudreau is certainly scarier than the 12-6 advantage he had over Travis Green. Here are his records against other potential Western Conference playoff match-ups.
John Hynes (NSH): 8-2
Jared Bednar (COL): 20-11
Craig Berube (STL): 14-11
Dean Evason (MIN): 9-8
Rick Bowness (DAL): 4-4
Dave Lowry (WPG): 0-0
Looking through the list, there are a lot of coaches DeBoer has gotten the better of. Bring on Anaheim, San Jose, Seattle, Nashville, or Colorado. But let’s stay away from Vancouver and maybe Edmonton or Dallas again.
Oh, and one more name to keep an eye on… DeBoer is 15-14 against Gerard Gallant including 6-7 in the playoffs (but we all know that should be 5-8).