Pete DeBoer has been the head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights for about 15 months now. He’s led the team to an excellent 37-15 record including two playoff series wins.
But still, mainly due to the pandemic, it feels like we are still getting to know DeBoer and his style and tendencies.
We’ve seen surprise healthy scratches, line jumbles, and a system that is built on structure in all three zones. Because he’s only had one playoff run, and it ended with a whimper, the biggest question mark surrounding DeBoer’s coaching style is his willingness to adapt to different situations.
In the playoffs against the Canucks, and then even more so against the Stars, we saw the Golden Knights’ opponent start to play an ultra-conservative style which was focused on keeping Vegas to the outside and cleaning up and rebound chances. It led to Thatcher Demko and Anton Khudobin, two goalies far from the league’s elite, posting incredible numbers and the Golden Knights offense going bone dry for about two weeks.
Personally, I’ll never forget DeBoer’s comment on the off-day prior to Game 5 against the Stars, as the Golden Knights trailed in the series 3-1 and had posted just six goals in four games to that point.