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Thoughts on the shocking coaching change in Vegas?

January 15, 2020, 12:00 PM ET [1 Comments]
HockeyBuzz Hotstove
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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our thoughts on Vegas’ surprising decision to make a coaching change.

Todd Cordell

I really like Pete DeBoer so I have no problem with any team making a change wanting to bring him on. I am really surprised Vegas let Gerard Gallant go, though.

I think Gallant has very clearly been one of the NHL’s elite coaches over the last few years. While Vegas has had a somewhat bumpy season given the talent, they’re still only three points out of top spot in the Pacific Division. There is real reason to believe they’d get there.

Vegas controls 53.59% of the shot attempts at 5v5, good for 3rd best in the NHL. Their expected goal share of 54.84% ranks them even higher at 2nd – behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning.

They’re out-playing teams consistently and significantly. They just haven’t been rewarded accordingly, in large part, due to puck luck.

Their PDO (shooting percentage + save percentage) ranks them 28th in the NHL, ahead of only LA, San Jose, and Detroit. I think we can all agree their true talent should have them ranked much higher.

In short, I am a DeBoer fan and believe he’ll fare well in Vegas. I thought Gallant was doing just fine, though, and didn’t deserve the fate he was met with.

Sean Maloughney

This has been an insane year for the amount of coaches who have been fired but this is easily the most peculiar one. The Golden Knights sit just outside of the playoffs but are certainly still in the race due to how close the entire Division is. Vegas has run into a bit of a bad luck stretch right now but this is still a dominant team.

Across the board, the numbers the Golden Knights have posted this season are well above average. They sit 12th in even strength goals, have the 9th best powerplay at 22.06%, and have also fired the most shots on net in the league. The only areas that have struggled are the PK which sits 19th in the league and their goaltending. The former and obviously the latter are due to the 35 year old Fleury not performing up to his usual standards.

Kelly McCrimmon should have been focusing on adding another defenseman to this team to provide more coverage. Instead he fires the coach who turned an expansion team into a Cup Contender in Year One and has continued to get the most out of his players in the past couple years. This is an unfortunate end to the legacy of Gallant in Vegas.

Bringing in DeBour of all people to replace Gallant... I question the upside of this move and McCrimmon is placed firmly in the hot-seat if this one blows up.

James Tanner

Assuming this is a hockey related firing, it's completely nonsensical and pretty stupid, and short-sighted. The Golden Knights have - along with Toronto and Tampa - one of the three best rosters in the NHL. They are fourth in their division, but they have the 7th worst goaltending in the NHL, and the 4th lowest PDO. They have the 3rd best team-corsi and 3rd best shots for-percentage. Essentially the coach is doing everything possible he can do to make his team successful and they are doing it, but being undercut by terrible goaltending. Extremely stupid move. Ironically they just brought in as a replacement, a guy who recently got fired for essentially the same thing.

The NHL is dumb sometimes and this firing really sums it up. You could hire the best coach in the world, the best you can do is move the Knights from the 3rd best stats in the NHL to the best. That is a minuscule margin that would do nothing for them in the standings, and since a coach can't make a goalie better this is pretty stupid. It's unjustifiable by hockey reasons. I'd go so far as to call it one of the stupidest things I've ever seen a team do.

Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com

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