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Pete DeBoer is feeling the Vegas wrath.
According to multiple insider reports, the Vegas Golden Knights have fired DeBoer after three seasons as head coach. Vegas missed the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in franchise history under DeBoer, who led the organization to conference finals in back-to-back seasons prior to this one.
Hearing Peter DeBoer out in Vegas
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 16, 2022
DeBoer only coached the Golden Knights for two full years. He was brought aboard months into the 2019-20 after he was fired by the San Jose Sharks, and led the team into the postseason as the Pacific Division champions. Vegas was one point away from capturing the Presidents' Trophy the following season before winning two rounds in the playoffs. Injuries and complications with the salary cap severely impacted the team's performance in 2021-22.
Despite much success, DeBoer was involved in no shortage of controversy in his tenure with the Golden Knights, with incidents primarily involving his goaltenders. It seemed his relationship was fractured with franchise legend Marc-Andre Fleury when the netminder's agent, Allan Walsh, protested his decision by sharing a photoshop with a sword — branded with DeBoer's name — plunging through Fleury's back when Robin Lehner took over the starter's role.
Fleury returned as the team's No. 1 option the following the season and won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender, only to be traded in the offseason.
Unfortunately, it soon soured with DeBoer's perceived preferred choice. DeBoer sent messages through the media when Lehner was dealing with an injury as the Golden Knights pushed for a postseason spot late in the season. Indecision, or more specifically timing, when it came to treating an injury seemed to be at the crux of the issue between DeBoer and Lehner.
Suffice to say, there was a measure of ruthlessness to DeBoer throughout his tenure, which almost made him the perfect fit to coach the Golden Knights — a team which is unapologetically chasing a championship just five seasons into their organization's history.
But as we know, living by the sword (even one potentially inscribed with your name) only ends one way. As a result, DeBoer exits no-more ceremoniously than his predecessor, and the first coach in franchise history, Gerard Gallant.
DeBoer will be owed over $3 million with one more season remaining on his deal unless he's scooped up by another team, which seems like a distinct possibility.
Meanwhile Vegas will canvass a market that includes Barry Trotz in their search for the third coach in franchise history.
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