The Dallas Stars are closing in on a contract with Peter DeBoer to make him their next coach, a source told ESPN on Monday, confirming multiple reports.
The news was first reported by TSN.
DeBoer, 54, fired by the Vegas Golden Knights at the end of the regular season, will inherit a young team that advanced to the Western Conference playoffs as the first wild-card entry before losing to the Calgary Flames in seven games.
The Stars will be the fifth NHL franchise to employ DeBoer as coach, and he led two of them — the New Jersey Devils (2012) and the San Jose Sharks (2016) — to the Stanley Cup Final. He has 513 career regular-season wins behind NHL benches and has led teams to the postseason seven times.
But his tenure in Vegas was rocky, and the injury-riddled Golden Knights failed to make the postseason this year despite having several high-priced forwards — including star center Jack Eichel, acquired from the Buffalo Sabers in November — on the roster.
The Golden Knights, who had never failed to qualify for the playoffs in their five-year history, finished 43-31-8 with 94 points, watching the Stars and Nashville Predators secure the West’s two wild-card berths in the regular season’s final week .
In the team’s end-of-season media availability on May 4, DeBoer was adamant about hoping to stay in Vegas, saying “I want to be back. I want to coach this team.”
He was fired two weeks later, and Vegas replaced him last week with former Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. It took a bit of time, but Dallas general manager Jim Nill eventually swooped in and signed DeBoer.
“The reality of this season, and what I’ll look back 10 years from now, is going to be 500-man games lost, that bled into everything we did,” DeBoer said after Vegas’ season ended. “The only other teams that had that many all finished last in their division.”
In Dallas, where DeBoer will replace Rick Bowness, he will again have high-end skill on offense to work with, as well as a promising goaltender in Jake Oettinger, 23, who starred in the first-round loss to the Flames. In Game 7, despite losing in overtime, Oettinger made 64 saves.
The Stars, who advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020 in the postseason bubble in Edmonton, Alberta under Bowness, also feature first-line stars in Jason Robertson, 22, and Roope Hintz, 25, as well as a pair of valued veterans in Jamie Benn, 32, and Tyler Seguin, 30, who have been with the organization 13 and nine seasons, respectively.
“I love this franchise. I love this city. I think we’ve got a special thing going here,” Nill said after the season ended. “I’m excited about the future.”
Bowness — who led Dallas to that 2020 Cup Final appearance, where the Stars lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning — stepped down from his post after dropping Game 7 in Calgary, saying in a statement that he wanted to “allow the organization the opportunity to pursue a different direction.”
DeBoer’s first stop as an NHL coach was with the Florida Panthers, a team he led from 2008-2011.
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski contributed to this report.