NHL

Rebuilding Sharks fire coach David Quinn after 2 disappointing seasons

Rebuilding Sharks fire coach David Quinn after 2 disappointing seasons

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The San Jose Sharks fired coach David Quinn on Wednesday following two rough seasons as part of a massive rebuilding project.

General manager Mike Grier called it a hard decision to fire Quinn after he experienced two seasons under “difficult circumstances” but said he decided it was the best move for the franchise's future after spending the past few days meeting with coaches, players, front office staff and owner Hasso Plattner.

“After going through our process, and digesting this going through the process of evaluating everything, I just felt this was what we needed to do,” Grier said. "A different voice for the group where the group is now and what’s needed for the group.”

Grier hired Quinn to replace Bob Boughner shortly after taking over as GM in 2022. Quinn spent two seasons in San Jose that were marked with lackluster play as the team traded away several high-priced stars like Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier, part of a major overhaul in hopes of getting the franchise back to contending.

Instead, the Sharks had a 41-98-25 record in Quinn's two seasons for the worst mark in the NHL in that span, including a league-worst 47 points this season. San Jose's 19 wins this season were the fewest in a full season since the franchise's second year as an expansion team in 1992-93.

“That didn’t really factor into it too, too much,” Grier said. “Obviously, it’s something I’m aware of. But at the same time, going into into the season, I kind of knew what the roster was. I wasn’t expecting us to be a playoff team. Did the season go a little worse than expected? Yes. But it’s not all performance-related.”

The last-place finish gives San Jose a 25.5% chance of earning the No. 1 draft pick and the prize that is expected to be Hobey Baker Award winner Macklin Celebrini, who played one season for the Sharks junior team while living in the Bay Area.

The Sharks were outscored by 147 goals this season, excluding shootouts, for the 12th-worst mark ever and the worst in 30 years since Ottawa was outscored by 196 goals in 1993-94, its second season as an expansion team.

San Jose set a franchise record for fewest goals scored per game (2.18) and had the fourth-worst mark in team history in goals allowed per game (3.98). The Sharks allowed at least six goals in a game 18 times, the second-most times that has happened in a season since the start of 1996-97.

Grier put no timeline on the search for a new coach and said he's open to candidates both with and without head coaching experience in the NHL. He said the assistants would remain under contract and have the chance to stay on if the new coach wanted them but were free to seek other opportunities if they arise.

The Sharks have missed the playoffs for a franchise-record five straight seasons after making the 2019 Western Conference Final and have the worst record in the NHL in that span. San Jose had been one of the most consistent teams in the league before this stretch, making the playoffs in 14 of 15 seasons, with five trips to the conference final and one trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016 before losing in six games to Pittsburgh.

But the core of that roster was aging, and San Jose struggled the next three seasons before Grier took over and started a rebuild that has given the team significant draft capital. It has two extra first-round picks the next two seasons and an extra second-rounder this year.

Grier also announced that head athletic trainer Ray Tufts would not return after spending 27 years with the franchise.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL

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