Around and around we go on the NHL's coaching carousel.
Gerard Gallant became the seventh head coach fired this season when the Vegas Golden Knights relieved him of his duties Wednesday and replaced him with one of the previous six -- Peter DeBoer -- who was fired by the San Jose Sharks last month.
DeBoer being hired by the Golden Knights already adds another interesting wrinkle to their rivalry with the Sharks, but could another one be in store before long? Might San Jose simply swap head coaches with its arch-rival?
It's certainly a possibility.
Gallant is regarded as one of the better coaches in the NHL, and his firing was more a result of the Knights' lofty expectations than his personal failures. Unlike the Sharks, Vegas still sits in prime contention for a playoff spot. Gallant posted a 118-75-20 (.601) overall record with the Golden Knights and reached the playoffs in each of his two full seasons since taking the helm.
He led Vegas to the Stanley Cup Finals in the franchise's expansion season and was named the NHL's Coach of the Year.
Given how many of those victories came against the Sharks, they might want to consider what Gallant could do in San Jose. In the 12 regular-season encounters between the Sharks and Golden Knights since the start of the 2017-18 season, Vegas has prevailed eight times, outscored the Sharks 45-26 and only lost once in regulation.
The playoff encounters have been more even, with each side winning one postseason series over the other. But it's worth noting that in San Jose's series victory, the Sharks initially trailed three games to one.
In general terms, the Golden Knights have tended to have the upper hand over the Sharks since they arrived in the Pacific Division. From a stylistic perspective, Vegas' speed and effectiveness on the counter-attack always has seemed to cause San Jose trouble. One would deduce that Gallant installed that playing style, and he could do the same in his next stop -- wherever that might be.
Of course, the Sharks don't have a head-coaching opening at the moment. Well, not exactly. Bob Boughner was promoted to interim head coach upon DeBoer's firing, and while San Jose has taken a step forward since the coaching change, the remainder of the regular season will be a critical evaluation period for Sharks general manager Doug Wilson.
If the team nosedives toward the end of the season, that might be enough to create an opening.
Gallant is sure to be in high demand this coming offseason, and that's assuming he's not hired by another team before then. The Sharks don't yet know if they'll need to find a new head coach this summer, but given the thorn he was in their side, Gallant might deserve a good, hard look.
Why Sharks should consider hiring Gerard Gallant as next head coach originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area