As if the NHL's off-season coaching shuffle couldn't get any crazier, there's now a chance that former Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer is back in the league next season as a bench boss.
According to TSN's Darren Dreger, DeBoer, 46, has been in contact with both the Edmonton Oilers and the San Jose Sharks about their coaching vacancies. DeBoer was last behind the bench for the Devils before the holiday break in December, but was let go on Boxing Day in a surprising firing that led New Jersey to hire Adam Oates and Scott Stevens as co-coaches, along with Lou Lamoriello joining the Devils behind the bench.
Since entering the league in the 2008-09 season, DeBoer hasn't had a ton of success outside of his Stanley Cup final appearance with the Devils in 2011-12, in which the Devils lost in six games to the Los Angeles Kings. The trip to the finals came the season immediately following him being let go by the Florida Panthers, who he had coached for three seasons to a 103-107-36 record and no post-season appearances.
Before being let go by the Devils, DeBoer had coached the club to a 114-93-41 record over three and a half seasons, but his underwhelming start to the 2014-15 campaign led to his firing. Through 36 games, the Devils were 12-17-7 and far out of a playoff spot at the time he was relieved of his duties.
If DeBoer was brought into either San Jose or Edmonton, it would come as somewhat of a shock considering his name hasn't been mentioned among the top candidates for any openings throughout the league. The current free agent crop of coaches -- including names like Mike Babcock, Dan Bylsma, John Tortorella and Randy Carlyle -- is massive and there are big names to be had. There's the possibility, still, for more coaches to hit the open market.
Before coming to the NHL, DeBoer was a two-time OHL coach of the year and a Memorial Cup winner as the bench boss for the OHL's Kitchener Rangers in 2003.