After firing Darryl Sutter as head coach a little over a week ago, the Los Angeles Kings have named John Stevens their new head coach for next season and beyond. It was announced earlier today from general manager Rob Blake after he took over for Dean Lombardi who was also fired a week and a half ago. A news conference to introduce Stevens as head coach will be held tomorrow.
John Stevens Hired as Kings Head Coach
John Stevens has been the Kings Associate head coach for the past couple seasons and has been apart of the Kings coaching staff the last seven seasons. Stevens is officially the 27th head coach in Kings history.
Rob Blake said (via the LA Kings website) that, “We believe John has the ideal qualities to lead our hockey club. His wide array of coaching experience, inlcuding success as an NHL head coach and his inherent knowledge of our players and those in our development system, is very appealing to us. We are confident that he is the best person to lead our hockey club forward.”
Stevens coached the Kings for four games during the 2011-2012 season after Terry Murray was fired and then Darryl Sutter was hired right after those four games. Now that the Kings have their coach, they can turn to improving their roster as they try to make the playoffs next season after missing this season. After winning their Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014, the Kings have won just one playoff series missing the playoffs in two of the last three seasons. Their five consecutive playoff appearances from 2010-14 was the most in franchise history since the team clinched seven times in a row from 1986-93.
The soon-to-be 51-year old Stevens played 53 games across five scattered seasons from 1986-94, recording ten assists. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 3rd round of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.