The San Jose Sharks and head coach Todd McLellan mutually agreed to part ways on April 20.
The San Jose Sharks have mutually agreed to part ways with head coach Todd McLellan.
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McLellan leaving the organization was confirmed in an April 20 press release on the Sharks' official website.
McLellan told SJSharks.com the decision was in both parties' best interests:
"San Jose will always hold a special place for me and my family. I would like to thank (Sharks general manager) Doug (Wilson) and the Sharks organization for allowing me the opportunity to coach at the National Hockey League level. While we both agree that a change is in the best interest of myself and the team, I'm proud of what we accomplished as an organization."
For his part, Wilson thanked McLellan for all he has done for the team, per SJSharks.com:
"I want to thank Todd and his staff for their years of service to the San Jose Sharks organization. Sometimes a change is best for all parties involved but nothing will take away from what Todd and his staff accomplished here over the last seven seasons."
According to The San Jose Mercury News' Curtis Pashelka, McLellan still had a year left on his contract with the Sharks. His departure occurs more than a week after San Jose missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 11 years.
McLellan told Pashelka he actually made the decision to leave the team on Sunday. He had been in discussions with his family, Wilson and Sharks assistant general manager Joe Will in the days leading up to his departure.
McLellan told The San Jose Mercury News on Monday morning he tried to "project and see where we would be at Christmas, where we would be a year from now, and what happens after that. Because this team's clearly in a rebuild, and with one year left and heading forward, I have to analyze where everything was going. I felt with some of the answers that I got it was time."
He also made it clear to Pashelka the Sharks' failure to make this season's playoffs had a hand in him leaving the organization:
"I expected to be in the playoffs, it's as simple as that. For me, that's the first thing that I told our players in training camp...'We're here to win.' So, how did that part play out? It played out disappointing.
"I thought we had a group that could get there. Obviously we didn't perform well enough in certain segments during the season, and that affected the standings, and now we're forced to watch."
Pashelka stresses "it was the first time McLellan had missed the postseason in two decades of coaching." McLellan's tenure was also the third-longest in the league behind the Detroit Red Wings' Mike Babcock and the Boston Bruins' Claude Julien.
The Sharks hired McLellan on June 12, 2008. He leaves with an overall record of 311-163-66. His 311 victories represent a franchise record. He also is the team's all-time leader in games coached (540) and points percentage (.637).
During McLellan's tenure, the Sharks clinched three Pacific Division titles (2009-11) and one Presidents' Trophy (2009), per SJSharks.com.
McLellan also guided the Sharks to six playoff appearances, including two in the Conference Final in 2010 and 2011. He concludes his stint as Sharks head coach with a 30-32 playoff record, per the team's official website.
Pashelka figures McLellan will be in the mix for coaching opportunities with teams such as the Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres. The Flyers fired head coach Craig Berube on April 17 while the Maple Leafs and Sabres fired Peter Horachek and Ted Nolan, respectively, five days earlier.
The Sharks also dismissed assistant coaches Jim Johnson and Jay Woodcroft as well as video coordinator Brett Heimlich on Monday, per SJSharks.com.
The San Jose Mercury News update adds McLelland Woodcroft will take off for the Czech Republic on April 24 to coach Team Canada in the World Championship.
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