Stevens had been serving as the associate coach of the team for the past three seasons and was promoted to the post after the firing of Darryl Sutter on April 10. General manager Dean Lombardi was also fired as the Kings shuffled their front office.
“John and I had very productive dialogue this last week in relation to his head coaching philosophy,” vice president and GM Rob Blake said. “…and specifically, how he would implement a strategy to activate our players offensively while maintaining the defensive philosophies we have come to be known for. I am confident that we are both in agreement on how that can be executed.”
Los Angeles hired Stevens as an assistant back in June of 2010 and promoted him to associate coach in 2014. He has some experience behind the bench of the Kings already, as he served as head coach for four games in 2010-2011 after the firing of Terry Murray and before the hiring of Sutter.
Stevens is 2-2-0 as coach of the Kings.
“…we believe John has the ideal qualities to lead our hockey club,” said Blake. “His wide array of coaching experience, including 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 he is the best person to lead our hockey club forward.”
Stevens’ experience as an NHL coach includes a tenure with the Philadelphia Flyers. He was named coach of that team in October of 2006 and took them to the Eastern Conference Final in 2008, but he was fired after a slow start to the 2009-2010 season. He currently holds a 112-11-34 record as coach.
The Kings are hoping Stevens can improve their fortunes. They finished the 2016-2017 regular season with a 39-35-8 record, good for fifth place in the Pacific Division.