LOS ANGELES —Todd McLellan is the new coach of the Los Angeles Kings.
The announcement Tuesday reunites the former San Jose Sharks coach with general manager Rob Blake, who played for McLellan in San Jose, and gives the Kings the experienced coach they sought.
The Kings targeted McLellan, 51, after they dismissed interim coach Willie Desjardins following their worst season in more than a decade. This is McLellan’s third NHL coaching stop. He was fired from the Edmonton Oilers in November with one year remaining on a reported $3 million annual contract.
The bulk of McLellan’s resume was built in San Jose, where he took the Sharks to the Western Conference finals twice, in 2010 and 2011, and won at least 50 games three times. McLellan and San Jose squandered a 3-0 first-round series lead to the Kings during the Kings’ 2014 Stanley Cup-winning season.
McLellan was hired by Edmonton in 2015 and got the Oilers to the second round of the playoffs in 2017, but the team continued to underachieve even with Connor McDavid.
McLellan will be charged with motivating a veteran base that has gotten admittedly complacent, as well as developing young players as the Kings attempt to get faster.
“We have a different team than we’ve had in a long time,” Dustin Brown said after the season. “I think the idea is probably to get younger —we have a lot of younger guys with less experience —so I think it’s important we have a guy who can teach how to play the game. The flip side to that is the accountability. We need a guy who’s going to hold everyone accountable.”
McLellan went 123-119-24 with Edmonton and 311-163-66 with San Jose. He previously served as an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings and head coach of the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League.