The Kings’ talks with John Stevens about their vacant head coaching job are continuing in a “positive manner” and a resolution is expected soon, according to a source who is familiar with the process but isn’t authorized to speak publicly.
Stevens was the associate coach under Darryl Sutter, who was fired after the Kings missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
New general manager Rob Blake, who replaced Dean Lombardi in that job after the season ended, has focused on interviewing Stevens at length to determine whether Stevens can improve the offense of a team that ranked near the bottom of the NHL in goals scored per game this season.
Stevens, 50, joined the Kings’ coaching staff in 2010 and served as interim coach for four games in the 2011-12 season, after Terry Murray was fired and before Sutter was hired.
Stevens previously played defense in the NHL and coached the Philadelphia Flyers. He has been credited with implementing the Kings’ successful defensive strategy and with guiding their successful penalty-killing unit.
How he will boost their offense remains the big question, and whether he can do that without compromising their excellent defensive foundation. Blake, soon after he took over, emphasized the team’s need for increased scoring, and apparently he has been getting satisfactory answers from Stevens during their discussions.