The San Jose Sharks announced Sept. 22 that the organization has selected its coaching staffs at both the National Hockey League and American Hockey League levels.
Bob Boughner has been named the ninth head coach in Sharks history after serving as the interim head coach for 37 games during the 2019-20 season. Along with Boughner, the Sharks have named Rocky Thompson as associate coach and John Madden as assistant coach.
“Bob did a tremendous job last season, getting our group back to playing with an identity and structure that we need in order to be successful,” said Wilson. “We saw a marked improvement in our play in several key areas during the second half of the season, before losing some key players to injury.
“We’re also very pleased to add Rocky and John to our staff. Both come with a wealth of experience, both in playing the game and as teachers and leaders. With a healthy and motivated group of players, we are confident that this staff will do a terrific job leading our group in the coming years.”
Evgeni Nabokov will return as the team’s goaltending coach, Dan Darrow will remain in his current role of assistant coach, video and Charlie Townsend will continue to serve as hockey analyst/assistant to the NHL coaching staff.
Mike Ricci, who spent the final 37 games of the 2019-20 season as an assistant coach with the Sharks, will serve as NHL development coach.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to return to the San Jose Sharks organization as head coach,” said Boughner. “I want to thank Hasso Plattner and Doug Wilson for their trust in me. Last year was a difficult season for everyone, but I think we learned a lot about ourselves as a group, and we made some positive strides over the second half of the year. I’ve been in contact with many of our players over the break and, as a coaching staff, we are going to make it clear that our team is going to compete every night, play hard and be a tight group on and off the ice.
In addition, Wilson announced that Roy Sommer will return as head coach of the San Jose Barracuda, after serving as associate coach for the Sharks for the final 37 games of the 2019-20 season. Sommer’s staff will include Assistant Coaches Jimmy Bonneau, Mike Chiasson, Video Coach and Hockey Operations Assistant Nick Gialdini, and AHL Development Coach John McCarthy. The Barracuda have also hired Dany Sabourin as goaltending development coach.
“I want to thank Roy Sommer and Mike Ricci for stepping in under some challenging circumstances to help lead our NHL club last season,” said Wilson. “The role that Roy and Mike play in continuing to teach and develop our young players is amongst the most important in our organization.”
The 49-year-old Boughner took over as interim head coach in December 2019 and went 14-20-3 in the team’s final 37 games. Under Boughner, San Jose went 13-2-1 when allowing two or fewer goals, and owned the NHL’s best penalty kill percentage (85.7%). San Jose ranked second in the NHL in home PK percentage (0.1% behind Washington), and was 83.6% on the road, tied for third in the League. Under Boughner, the Sharks goals-against per 60 minutes improved from 29th (3.42) to T-15th (3.03), while their odd-man scoring chances against went from 30th (4.90) to eighth (3.16). In addition, the team’s blocked shots per 60 minutes rose from 12.29 (T-25th) to 14.14 (T-13th).
Thompson, 43, will be responsible for the defensemen and power play. He joins the Sharks after spending the last three seasons as the head coach of the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights. Thompson led Chicago to a 113-71-18-11 record, winning the Central Division in both its completed seasons and helping the Wolves reach the Calder Cup Finals in 2019, losing to the eventual-champion Charlotte Checkers.
Madden, 47, will handle the team’s forwards and penalty kill. He joins San Jose after a three-season stint as head coach of the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL. He led the Columbus Blue Jackets’ top minor league affiliate to a record of 101-99-19-9 in his three seasons, including an appearance in the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs in 2018-19.
Nabokov, the Sharks franchise leader in nearly every historical goaltending category, including games played (563), wins (293) and shutouts (50), was named goaltending coach in December 2019 and previously served as a scout and goaltending development coach for the past five seasons, where he has worked with the goaltending prospects on the Barracuda in the development system.