Kings fire McLellan, name Hiller interim head coach
The Los Angeles Kings have relieved Todd McLellan of his duties and named Jim Hiller as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
The @LAKings have relieved Todd McLellan of his duties and named Jim Hiller interim head coach for the remainder of the season, according to Vice President and General Manager Rob Blake.https://t.co/2Inm9q6BIS— LA Kings PR (@LAKingsPR) February 2, 2024
The move comes as the Kings went 3-7-5 in the month of January and have dropped to the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Earlier in the season, Los Angeles won 11 consecutive games on the road to open the 2023-24 campaign, an NHL record.
This was McLellan’s fifth season with the Kings. He led them to the playoffs the previous two seasons but lost in the first round both times to the Edmonton Oilers.
Last season, he led the team to a 47-25-10 record.
McLellan got his first NHL head-coaching gig in 2008-09 when he was hired behind the bench in San Jose. In seven years with the Sharks, McLellan went 311-163-66 in 540 games and led them to six playoff appearances with a 30-32 record in the postseason.
After he and the Sharks mutually agreed to part ways following the 2014-15 season, McLellan was hired as the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers. In his second season in Edmonton, he led the team to its first playoff appearance in 11 seasons in 2017, as they made it to the second round before losing to the Anaheim Ducks. He was fired by the Oilers in November 2018 and was replaced by Ken Hitchcock.
McLellan previously spent three seasons (2005-08) with the Detroit Red Wings as an assistant coach under Mike Babcock, winning the Stanley Cup in 2008.
“We want to thank Todd for his hard work and dedication to the organization,” said Kings general manager Rob Blake. “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.”
Hiller joined the Kings on July 19, 2022 and has spent the last two seasons (2022-24) as an assistant coach. The 54-year-old was also an assistant with the New York Islanders (2019-22), Toronto Maple Leafs (2015-19) and Detroit Red Wings (2014-15).