General Manager Kelly McCrimmon met with the media on Monday to talk about the firing of Pete DeBoer, he answered some questions, and provided a couple of updates regarding the Vegas Golden Knights.
DeBoer’s firing was the big news, but it was also announced that assistants Steve Spott and Ryan McGill were also let go. Ryan Craig and Misha Donskov kept their jobs, and goalie coach Mike Rosati will have a chance to interview with the new coaching staff when they are chosen.
On the decision to fire Pete DeBoer, McCrimmon said the following:
I’m expecting a sense of excitement and I’m expecting guys being very anxious to get to training camp. I keep using the term “a mindset of something to prove.”— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) May 16, 2022
Missing the playoffs was a humbling experience for the team. All those things add up to shape the attitude heading into next season.— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) May 16, 2022
It's a decision that ultimately came from me. I talked with George, we went to Bill and here we are today. It's not easy. You do what you think is best for the organization and that's why we're here today.— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) May 16, 2022
McCrimmon was asked about what he was looking for in a new coach in terms of qualities and potential candidates, with Barry Trotz being someone mentioned specifically by name, and he declined to elaborate with anything of substance by simply saying that the front office “haven’t put any work into who those candidates are.”
This year was one full of injuries for the Golden Knights, and presented some challenges. It required creativity with lineups, and that included the team playing a bit of salary cap Jenga.
With that in mind, McCrimmon made it clear that the decision to make a coaching change was about the future of the team, and wasn’t about what happened in the past, and that it was part of the team needing a new voice.
The Golden Knights will have a lot of decisions in terms of who will and won’t be on the roster, and McCrimmon answered questions regarding that by making mention to the fact that training camp is about four months away, and they have the luxury of time.
On the UFA front, Reilly Smith’s deal with a $5 million AAV is up, Mattias Janmark ($2 million) is out of contract, as is Jake Bischoff who made only $716,667.
On the RFA front, Vegas has decisions to make on Brett Howden, Nic Hague, Keegan Kolesar, and Nicolas Roy. As of this moment the Golden Knights have a projected cap hit of $83,066,667 split among 18 players. It will be interesting to see if the front office revisits an Evgenii Dadonov trade, as that would free up $5 million in cap space.
The last bit of big news involved team captain Mark Stone likely needing surgery. In case you missed our main story on that, you can check that out here.
The next few weeks should be interesting for the Golden Knights. The head coach search will draw the most headlines, and once a coach is in place the next logical step will be shaping the roster in a way that plays of the bench boss’s strength.
For anyone wanting to watch the full presser, you can do so here.