Daily News Kings add assistant Newell Brown to Jim Hiller’s staff

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The Kings have hired former Ducks assistant coach Newell Brown to join newly promoted coach Jim Hiller’s staff, the team announced Thursday in a news release.

After Hiller’s February promotion to interim head coach, he continued his duties running the power play. With the removal of that interim tag, the man-advantage maestro will now be Brown, who will also work with the Kings’ forwards. D.J. Smith, who was fired as head coach by the Ottawa Senators last season, joined the Kings when Hiller was promoted, and will stay on to run the penalty kill and defense corps.

Brown, 62, began his coaching career at his alma mater, Michigan State University, in 1987, later making the leap to the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1996. He also spent time with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Arizona Coyotes, as well as two tenures with the Vancouver Canucks, one that included a pair of Presidents’ Trophy wins in 2011 and 2012. He had three separate stints with the Ducks, one that encompassed their 2007 Stanley Cup triumph.

Most recently, he served under Dallas Eakins for two campaigns and Greg Cronin for one with the Ducks, though the Ducks opted not to renew his contract this spring. When Brown rejoined their staff in 2021, they had just produced an NHL all-time-worst 8.9% power-play percentage the year prior, when Brown’s Canucks also struggled, finishing 25th in the league.

Though inconsistent personnel on what were arguably undermanned units even when fully healthy mitigated some of its toothlessness, the Ducks’ power play remained fairly feeble. It produced the NHL’s sixth worst by conversion rate over the course of three seasons. It finished with the second-worst percentage in 2022-23, rebounding somewhat to finish seventh from the bottom last year.

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Brown has been known as an innovator of zone entries that incorporate drop passes, backward dishes designed to create space and speed for a trailing puck carrier. Kings wingers Adrian Kempe and Kevin Fiala have often executed such plays effectively.

The Kings had endured years of futility on the power play, even as they were winning championships in 2012 and 2014 –– from 2010-11 until Hiller came aboard in 2022-23 they ranked 26th among 32 franchises –– but Hiller helped them attain a clip that tied for the second highest single-season conversion rate in recorded franchise history. The NHL has kept official records of power-play percentages from the 1977-78 season onward, a decade after the Kings joined the league.

Last season, the Kings slipped from fourth to 12th in the NHL, though they cashed in more efficiently than all but seven other prior Kings teams. The playoffs were a nightmare, however, as they went from scoring on a third of their opportunities in the 2023 postseason to going 0-for-12 in 2024.

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