They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
- Jul 28, 2004
After the Kings were among the NHL’s elite clubs for the first three months of the seasons, January was not kind to them. Coming off just three wins in their past 17 games, change was likely, and now it’s here. On Friday morning, GM Rob Blake announced coach Todd McLellan is being replaced by assistant coach Jim Hiller for the balance of this season.
McLellan was under contract for one more year — an extension he signed last June — believed to be for an amount similar to his current $5M per season deal.
In his initial comments, Blake wanted to “thank Todd for his hard work and dedication to the organization.”
He went on to add, “[Todd] 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.”
Blake will hold a press conference on Monday, Feb. 5 to discuss the change. Then, Hiller will be introduced on Thursday, Feb. 8 when the team resumes practicing after the NHL All-Star Break.
McLellan spent nearly five seasons behind the bench in LA, amassing a .550 points percentage over a 164-130-44 record in 338 games. He also guided the team to back-to-back playoff appearances the past two seasons, falling short both times to the Edmonton Oilers in Round 1.
Hiller, who played for the Kings back in the 90s, re-joined the organization as an assistant coach in July 2022. He was specifically brought in to help turn around one of the league’s worst power plays and did just that in his first season. Previously, Hiller spent eight seasons with the New York Islanders (2019-22), Toronto Maple Leafs (2015-19) and Detroit Red Wings (2014-15) as an assistant coach. He also spent 12 seasons in the Western Hockey League (WHL) and British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), including his five years as head coach with the Tri-City Americans.
He was originally selected by the Kings in the 10th round (207th overall) of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft.
“Jim is a well-respected member of our staff who is familiar with our players,” Blake noted. “We are confident in his ability to lead our team effectively during this pivotal time.”
We did a whole story on Hiller prior to him joining the Kings a few years ago. See below for that article.