Photo credit:James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
LA Kings fire head coach Todd McLellan
By Zach Laing19 days ago
The LA Kings made a move Friday morning to fire head coach Todd McLellan as the team freefalls down the standings.
After a great start to the season in which the Kings went 16-4-3, landing them second spot in the Pacific Division on Dec. 7, the club has spiralled to a 7-11-7 record since. And while that may not jump out as a horrible stretch, it’s one that has seen them fall to the first Wild Card spot in the west, with 56 standings points.
It’s left them three back of the Oilers for third place in the Pacific, and now, the Kings have made a coaching change. With McLellan out the door, the club promoted Jim Hillier to interim head coach.
Hiller, 54, has spent the two prior seasons as an assistant coach with the team.
“We want to thank Todd for his hard work and dedication to the organization,” said general manager Rob Blake in a statement. “He has done a tremendous job in moving us forward and making a positive impact on our group and in our community. This was not an easy decision, but we felt the change was necessary at this time. Jim is a well-respected member of our staff who is familiar with our players. We are confident in his ability to lead our team effectively during this pivotal time.”
McLellan was hired as the head coach of the Kings in 2019 after being dismissed as the Edmonton Oilers’ head coach. Over his four and a half seasons, he amassed a 164-130-44 record in the regular season, making the playoffs in each of the last two years.
Despite that, he was never able to get his team out of the first round, losing to the Oilers in both seasons. In the 2022 playoffs, his Kings gained a 3-2 series lead on the Oilers, but failed to close them out in seven games. Edmonton took game six of that series in LA, before winning game seven on home ice.
In the 2023 playoffs, the Kings suffered a worse fate at the hands of Connor McDavid and co. Los Angeles had taken a 2-1 series lead after game three, but the Oilers roared back with three straight wins to claim the series.
Based on points percentage, McLellan finishes his tenure behind the bench in LA as their fourth most successful head coach. Now, Hiller will look to rejuvenate this squad as look to remain in the playoff picture.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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