The Los Angeles Kings management restructuring came to an end after finding their next head coach. Following the 2016-17 NHL regular season, Rob Blake replaced Dean Lombardi as general manger and Darryl Sutter was relieved of his head coaching duties without a replacement being named.
Blake began his search with associate head coach John Stevens. After the two met, additional candidates were no longer needed after the team announced the decision to keep Stevens in Los Angeles and promote him to head coach, according to Kings:
The LA Kings and John Stevens have agreed to contract terms for Stevens to serve as the club’s new Head Coach, it was announced today by Kings Vice President and General Manager Rob Blake.
Stevens originally joined the Kings as an assistant coach before the 2010-11 season as a member of Terry Murray’s staff. When Murray was fired during the following season, Stevens served as the interim head coach for four games before Sutter took on the job on a permanent basis. With Sutter’s hiring, Stevens returned to assistant coach and eventually became the associate head coach before the 2014-15 season.
His familiarity with the Kings should help him in addressing the team’s most glaring weakness, their inability to score goals. The Kings tied for 24th during the past season with just 199 goals.
Stevens has some experience coaching goal scorers as he previously coached the Philadelphia Flyers from 2006-2009. During the 2007-08 season, seven different Flyers scored more than 20 goals. Should he reproduce similar results with the Kings, the team can find itself contending for their third Stanley Cup in the near future.