Vellucci, 56, is an extremely experienced and decorated coach and manager across the AHL and OHL. He served as the GM and head coach of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers from 2001 to 2014, where he took home an OHL championship in 2007 and Coach of the Year honors in 2007 and 2013.
He then moved on to the Carolina Hurricanes organization, where he served as an assistant general manager and the director of hockey operations from 2014-2019, including spending the last two years as the head coach of their AHL affiliate in Charlotte. With the Checkers in 2019, Vellucci coached at the AHL All-Star Game, won the Calder Cup, and was named the AHL Coach of the Year. He then spent one year as the GM and head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before joining Pittsburgh’s NHL staff.
Since joining the Penguins as an assistant coach in 2020-21, Vellucci has primarily been responsible for managing the team’s forwards and penalty-killing units. The team has a record of 83-41-14 since Vellucci joined their NHL staff, but he’s yet to experience a playoff series win with the Penguins at this level.
Speaking on the deal today, Hextall gave the following statement:
Mike is a dedicated coach who has proven to be a valuable addition since joining Pittsburgh. We’re excited to have him back behind the bench for two more seasons.
Pittsburgh’s penalty kill is ninth overall in the NHL (81.5%) since Vellucci joined the bench in 2020. This season, he’ll be tasked with working newcomers like Jan Rutta into the penalty-killing fold while still working closely with the team’s offense.