The addition of a 35-year-old Iyla Kovalchuk, who spent the previous five seasons in the KHL, was expected to help a Kings offense that ranked just 17th in the league last year. Well, not surprisingly, that hasn’t quite panned out and the Kings have plummeted to the bottom of the league in scoring. Now, bench boss John Stevens has paid the price.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Kings have fired Stevens and will replace him with Willie Desjardins. Desjardins previously coached the Vancouver Canucks before being let go two seasons ago. In addition, the Kings have added former NHLer Marco Sturm to the coaching staff.
Willie Desjardins takes over as head coach in L.A.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 4, 2018
Technically, the firing ended Stevens second tenure behind the bench for the Kings. He acted as interim head coach for four games in 2012 before the Kings hired Daryl Sutter. The Kings went on to win their first Stanley Cup at the end of the year.
In Stevens first full season as head coach in 2017, he led the Kings to a 45-29-8 record and a fourth-place finish in the Pacific Division. However, they were swept in the first round by the eventual Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights. They were shutout twice and managed just three goals all series.
|Los Angeles Kings||29.1||13||4||8||1||9||.346||28||45||14.89||37||81.08||.893|
To this point, the goal scoring woes have carried over from their first-round exit a year ago. As mentioned above, the Kings are last in the league in scoring. And now, it has cost Stevens his job as they have stumbled to a 4-8-1 record to start the season. The good news for the Kings is that it is still early and perhaps this move will help the team turn things around.