New Los Angeles Kings head coach Todd McLellan has put the finishing touches on his coaching staff. After opting to retain veteran goalie coach Bill Ranford and up-and-coming coach Marco Sturm, McLellan still needed to add a defensive mind and found one in former colleague Trent Yawney. The Kings have announced that Yawney will join McLellan’s staff as the final assistant coach.
Yawney, 53, just wrapped up a stint as an assistant with the Edmonton Oilers, a hire made by McLellan before he was fired. Prior to that, Yawney served as an assistant with the Anaheim Ducks for four years. He also worked as an assistant for the San Jose Sharks from 2008 to 2011, again under McLellan. Yawney has also spent several years as an AHL head coach. However, what many may recognize Yawney for his playing career, spent mostly with the Chicago Blackhawks, and his brief stint as the head coach of the team from 2005 to 2007, when he was replaced mid-season by Denis Savard.
As the Kings’ release points out, Yawney has worked closely with a number of top defenses and elite defensemen, including Norris Trophy winners Chris Chelios, Doug Wilson, Phil Housley, Rob Blake, and Duncan Keith. In L.A., Yawney will have the opportunity to work with another elite talent in Drew Doughty, but also a deep group of young defensemen who are ready to break out with the right system and proper guidance. Yawney could prove to be a key figure in what the Kings’ hope is a return to relevance sooner rather than later.