A source told ESPN.com the hiring should be announced before the end of the week, although Sharks GM Doug Wilson on Wednesday declined to comment, saying he was still in the process of his coaching decision.
But it will indeed be DeBoer.
And in DeBoer, who guided an above-average Devils team to the Stanley Cup finals in 2012, the Sharks get a guy who should be a good fit in helping the team during the on-the-fly transition that began more than a year ago.
He can teach young players and is a strong communicator, but also isn’t afraid to have a firm hand. That's the mix of characteristics the Sharks probably will need as they continue to blend younger players with an existing core that features some veteran stars. I see DeBoer as a blend of Darryl Sutter and Jon Cooper, a bit of both worlds.
DeBoer is also a puck-possession positive coach. That's how his teams play and that should blend especially well with a Sharks team that traditionally has been strong in that area.
It has been a tough year in San Jose, beginning with the remnants of last year’s stunning first-round loss to the Los Angeles Kings in which the Sharks gave up a 3-0 series lead. Those scars were never fully healed on some levels, and former coach Todd McLellan and Wilson were right to agree to a mutual divorce after the season. It was time for a fresh voice for the players.
They get one in DeBoer, who also interviewed for the Sharks head-coaching job seven years ago when McLellan was hired.
DeBoer, who coached the OHL's Kitchener Rangers to a Memorial Cup title in 2003, will try to get the Sharks back in the playoffs after they missed out this year for the first time in 10 seasons.
In his first NHL gig, with the Florida Panthers, DeBoer had to coach through ownership and management turmoil, which has served him well in terms of understanding the realities of NHL life.
He won’t have to worry about ownership in San Jose, but the point is that as the team continues to evolve DeBoer has the moxie to deal with whatever curveball is thrown at him.