San Jose Sharks fire head coach Bob Boughner after missing playoffs again

The San Jose Sharks have fired head coach Bob Boughner and his staff, the team announced on Friday.

Boughner, 51, had been San Jose's coach for parts of three seasons, amassing a 67-85-23 record and failing to make the Stanley Cup playoffs each time. He previously coached the Florida Panthers for two seasons, taking over when Pete DeBoer was fired after 33 games in the 2019-20 season.

Boughner had one more year on his contract at $1.5 million. Assistant coaches John Madden and John MacLean also were not retained.

The decision comes as the Sharks have narrowed the field for their vacant general manager position. Multiple reports indicate that former Sharks players Ray Whitney and Mike Grier are among the finalists. Both would be first-time general managers.

"As we progress through our search for the next general manager of the Sharks following 19 seasons under Doug Wilson's leadership, it has become apparent that the organization is in the process of an evolution," said Joe Will, the Sharks' interim GM. "The bottom line is we have missed the playoffs for the past three seasons, which isn't acceptable to our owner, our organization, or to our fans. As part of this evolution and evaluation, we felt it was in the best interest of the club to allow the next Sharks general manager to have full autonomy related to the makeup of the on-ice coaching staff moving ahead."

Boughner's firing comes late in the offseason for a coaching change. Eight NHL head-coaching jobs have been filled. There currently is only one other head-coaching job available, as the Winnipeg Jets have yet to hire for their vacancy. Making the call on Boughner as the calendar flips to July hinders his ability, and that of his staff, to find NHL jobs for next season.

Once a dominant force in the Western Conference, the Sharks have missed the playoffs for three straight seasons, the longest drought in franchise history. They have a veteran corp of players with various levels of trade protection in their contracts. San Jose is paying defensemen Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- all over the age of 32 -- a combined $26.5 million against the salary cap through 2025.