The Los Angeles Kings have a new member of their coaching staff: Jim Hiller. The Kings announced that Hiller would be joining coach Todd McLellan’s staff and added that he would “primarily work with forwards” as well as “focus on the powerplay.” Hiller replaces former assistant Marco Sturm, who is now the coach of the Kings’ AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign.
Hiller, 53, was let go by the New York Islanders earlier in the offseason, as part of the team’s transition to a largely new coaching staff led by Lane Lambert. Hiller’s strong body of work for the Islanders landed him “on the radar” of multiple teams with head coaching vacancies, including the Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings, according to ESPN’s Kevin Weekes.
Prior to Hiller’s three-year tenure with the Islanders, he was an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and also spent 2014-15 as an assistant on Mike Babcock’s Detroit Red Wings staff. Hiller also has head coaching experience, as the head coach of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans and Chilliwack Bruins, who were later relocated to Victoria.
This is a bit of a return for Hiller, as he was drafted by the Kings as a player in 1989 and made his NHL debut with the team, playing 40 games for them in 1992-93 before being traded to Detroit.
Hiller will have his work cut out for him, as the Kings’ power play converted just 16.1% of its opportunities last season, a rate that ranked 27th in the NHL and worst among all playoff teams. The Kings have worked hard this summer to solve the issues on their power play, as seen by their trade for Kevin Fiala last month, and it appears that the addition of Hiller is part of that solution as well.