Just after the conclusion of the 2016-17 NHL season, the Los Angeles Kings parted ways with head coach Darryl Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi. The decision coincided with Rob Blake being promoted and replacing Lombardi and Luc Robitaille becoming club president.
One of the first things Blake must do is to find the team’s new head coach. Although Sutter was let go, the Kings may look to keep associate head coach John Stevens around and name him as Sutter’s replacement, according to Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider:
Meanwhile, Blake has prioritized a thorough evaluation of Stevens and is in the process of considering the styles and philosophies he would bring as the club’s head coach before deciding whether the search would expand to other candidates, according to a source.
Stevens originally joined the Kings as an assistant coach prior to the 2010-11 season and was instrumental in the Stanley Cup Championships in 2012 and 2014. Should Blake end up promoting Stevens, the Kings will become the second team Stevens served as head coach. He was also the interim head coach for four games just before Sutter’s hiring.
Before his Kings stint, Stevens led the Philadelphia Flyers to a 120-109-34 record from 2006 until his dismissal 25 games into the 2009-2010 season. He was named The Hockey News Coach of the Year after guiding the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2008.
Blake has stressed the importance of scoring goals since the team tied for the 24th worst goals-for total with 199 during the past season. Stevens or whoever becomes the new head coach will look to get better production from the offense.